The older I get and the more I read about hunting opportunities in other states, the more it bothers me that I don’t have the opportunity to hunt deer in velvet in the state of Oklahoma.
If you want to travel and can afford the cost and time away, several states have seasons that allow hunters to harvest mule deer and whitetail deer while in velvet.
The state of Kentucky opens archery season Sept. 1, as well as Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming. North Dakota, South Carolina and Idaho all have earlier starts. I bet there is a significant hunting draw to travel to those states for that opportunity.
It also strikes me as odd that no one around here seems to really care. I’d love to have a few extra days to hunt each year in the late summer.
There is no reason why we shouldn’t have the same opportunities here and I have an idea that could create additional opportunity, revenue and excitement for Oklahoma’s shared resource.
I would like to see the state try out a two week archery season somewhere around the end of August and the beginning of September. This year I would have the season start Aug. 24, and end Sept. 8.
The reason it becomes a great time for an archery season is that bucks can change their patterns and behavior immediately when they shed the velvet from their antlers. It’s a time of flux for local bucks and there is no guarantee that a summer pattern will stay true.
I’ve seen everything from bucks that disappear for good when they shed to some that don’t seem to change their pattern. Some go away for a few weeks, some go away for a few months and others don’t go very far. It’s a time when bucks disperse and it’s a great time to give hunters another shot.
It would take a hunter with dedication to sit out in hot weather, mosquitoes buzzing around and so many insects making noise you couldn’t hear a herd of cows coming let alone a deer. It would not be fun hunting conditions – actually pretty miserable.
There is no argument about whether or not the deer herd can handle it. There have been strong harvests for the last several years and excellent habitat conditions for the same period of time. There is no doubt the herd state-wide is stable or growing, and capable of handling more hunting.
If there was ever a time to experiment the time is now. I want a chance to harvest a buck in velvet, and I want to do it in Oklahoma. I don’t see why it isn’t possible.
The chance to harvest a buck in velvet is something that doesn’t come easily. It would be hard enough if the season even existed, but despite having a strong deer herd, there is no discussion about creating the chance. I’m ready for more.
Jon Kocan is the Stillwater News Press outdoors writer and a longtime hunter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.