Oklahoma elk hunting is spreading statewide.
For all you Oklahoma elk hunters, next fall just got a little better. NewsOK reported on Monday, March 3, that the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission (OWCC) approved a statewide elk hunting season effective in the fall.
Hunters on private land will be allowed a total of one elk for the entire season. The dates will coincide with deer hunting dates.
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Elk licenses will remain at the $51 mark, and lifetime licensees will have to make no additional purchases.
Oklahomans already have the opportunity to hunt elk, though only on a select few areas of the state. The largest free-ranging elk concentration in the state is located in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The hunts on the refuge are controlled and hunters must pay for a chance to hunt on the property.
There are also considerable concentrations of elk in Kiowa, Caddo and Comanche counties, which have migrated from the Wichita Mountains area. The Cookson Hills, Pushmataha, Spavinaw and Cherokee Wildlife Management Areas also hold populations of elk.
“In Cimarron and Texas counties, those elk could have come from bordering states, but the rest of them (across Oklahoma) are either escapees or (offspring) of escapees,” Alan Peoples, chief of the wildlife division for the OWCC told NewsOk last year.
A survey conducted by the OWCC showed that 33 counties in Oklahoma have six or more free-ranging elk, a number that prompted the move to allow a statewide season.
With the increase in elk populations have come complaints, mostly from farmers noting damage to agricultural fields.
“…They are causing issues, primarily agricultural depredation issues. When you allow hunting, those elk will find their safe haven.”
“And almost everywhere they are, they are causing issues, primarily agricultural depredation issues,” Peoples told NewsOK. “When you allow hunting, those elk will find their safe haven. They will find their refuge.”
Do you see Oklahoma becoming a popular elk hunting state? Have you ever seen elk in Oklahoma?