Oklahoma deer hunters have broken a record once again.

With nearly a month of bow season remaining and the special antlerless gun season still to come, the 2006 deer harvest totals have already surpassed all previous records.

Each deer harvested during the remainder of the season will add to the record total that stands at 104,000 and counting. The previous record was 102,100 deer harvested in 2000.

According to the ODWC’s weekly news report, the 2006 harvest totals have yet to include final counts from controlled hunts, Deer Management Assistant cooperators, the remainder of bow season and the upcoming special antlerless season.

Even with the record deer harvest, hunters are still encouraged to head to the woods next weekend for the special antlerless gun season. Mike Shaw, research supervisor for the ODWC, said in the weekly report that we need to really focus on increasing the number of antlerless deer harvested, especially in areas that have less desirable buck-to-doe ratios.

For those hunting north of State Highway 33 and west of Tulsa, the special antlerless season will start Friday and run until Christmas Eve. The second part of the season will run from Dec. 29-31 and be open in most areas of the state. The limit is one antlerless deer for both weekends combined.

Waterfowl season re-opened Saturday to warm temperatures and less than favorable hunting conditions. With weekend highs in the mid 70s and lows in the upper 40s and low 50s, waterfowl movement and hunting success should both be poor for the start of the second half of the season.

As the new week dawns temperatures will drop and migration and feeding movement should resume and become consistent. Starting Monday overnight lows will return to the lower 30s and upper 20s with day time highs in the upper 40s. The forecast is for the colder weather to last through next weekend.

Kaw Lake continues to have improved waterfowl reports as each week passes. The latest report for Kaw lists lake habitat as excellent, with millet and natural food available. Duck and goose numbers are reported to be high with a good number of mallards present. Lake level is less than a foot below normal.

The latest waterfowl report lists habitat throughout the state as poor to fair. Duck numbers around the state have recently gone up with migration activity and geese seem to be hit or miss, with mostly poor numbers reported.

Fishing in Oklahoma continues to be slow. Recent fishing reports list Sooner Lake as having good fishing in the power plant discharge channel.

The ODWC also announced that they will hold several public hearings across the state on January 8 and 9, to collect input on a number of proposed hunting and fishing regulation changes. A list of meeting locations and times can be found at the wildlife department’s Web site .

Also announced was the winner of the 2007 state duck stamp contest. Jeffery Hoff’s painting of two redheads was selected during a competition held Dec. 8 in Oklahoma City. Hoff is from Jamestown, North Dakota.

Congratulations to Hannah Carroll of Tryon, who was announced as the female winner of ages 15-17, 2006 youth writing competition. The competition focused on Oklahoma’s hunting heritage and Carroll received an all-expenses-paid antelope hunting trip in New Mexico for her winning essay.

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