Oklahoma is one of few places in America where you can enjoy duck hunting to the full. The wildlife authority regulates the hunting and limits the activity to particular seasons. Despite the limitations, it is still enjoyable for those who enjoy the sport. There are a few things you should know though before you can go out there with your rifle and start shooting the ducks. This article will give you the most important things you need to know about hunting ducks in Oklahoma. Things like licenses and permits, areas where you can hunt and what kind of guns are permitted.
Hunting season for ducks is usually between October and January. In Oklahoma, there are different hunting zones and you may find the hunting zones have different permitted seasons, say zone one can have the season from October 25th to November 30th and then take a break before resuming in December up to January, as was the case for the 2014-2015 season. It is good to check with the local authority to find out which zones will have what season. It is also important to note that hunting is permitted from 30 minutes before sunrise up to sunset, so you cannot go hunting ducks at night after the sun has set.
It is important also that you have the right ammunition that is permitted by the wildlife authority. The regulation states that when hunting ducks, you can use a 10 gauge shotgun or a smaller one but it should not be able to hold more than 3 shells. This helps to prevent hunters from having a total massacre of the birds.
Also, the bullets used should be nontoxic and of a particular size so that they do not obliterate the bird or birds.
Archery is permitted with very little restriction on the kind of bow or arrows you may use but once again, like the bullets, they should be nontoxic
Licenses and Permits
There are a different permits and licenses that you may need and some categories of people who are exempted from permits and licenses.
But first and foremost, all hunters of 16 years and older have to carry a valid Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp that is signed in ink. The stamps can be found at the post office or with license dealers. It is also possible to access them online at duckstamp.com. The stamps are valid for 12 months from July to June.
The next permit is the HIP permit (Harvest Information Program Permit) this can be purchased at the Oklahoma Department for Wildlife or on their website, you can also get it from license dealers. For about 3 dollars. Exempted from this permit, are:
- Landowners who hunt on their private property
- Hunters 16 years and below
- Hunters above 64 years
The next is an Oklahoma waterfowl hunting license which should be possessed by every hunter 16 years and above and for nonresidents, it is compulsory regardless of age. This license is not just for hunting ducks, it includes geese and mergansers. Exemption for this license is extended to:
- Hunters with lifetime duck stamps
- Lifetime hunting license holders
- Senior citizens of 65 years and older
- People hunting on their own property
- Hunters below 16 years
There is also a general hunting license that needs to be obtained by anyone who does not fall in the category above.
It is generally recommended that a hunter who intends to regularly engage in the sport should get a lifetime license that way they do not have to bother purchasing different permits and stamps every year.
Since most of the hunting of ducks in Oklahoma is done near the water, many times a boat is going to be used to transport the hunters to the location, this boat also needs to be licensed and granted a boating permit to carry hunters to the location.
With the mention of boats, you may be imagining that you could as well hunt while in the boat, but that is not the case. Oklahoma duck hunting regulations restrict hunters from hunting in the boats. Actually hunters are only allowed to hunt from behind the blinds that are set up along the lake or river. You may use decoys in the water, but you cannot stand, ride or swim in the water while hunting ducks.
During duck season, there is a lot of competition for good locations to hunt from. Certain blinds are highly contested for so much so that there is usually a draw for blinds before the season starts to see who gets the best blinds for hunting
Blinds are usually set up about 200 yards apart to avoid interference with another group of hunters.
You can set up your own temporary blind as long as it is within a safe distance from other hunters. It is possible to set up a permanent blind, but that would require a permit from the authorities
In Oklahoma, duck hunting is carried out along Lake Stanely Draper as well as blind locations along lake Overholser.
You should remember at all times that you are dealing with fire arms so utmost precaution needs to be taken to see to it that you to not shoot any of the hunters and you should also take charge of your own safety at all times.
License and Permit costs
The cost of a permit or license will vary according to things like residence status, the duration you want the license for and the type of license or permit you would want. The more common license fees are:
- Annual hunting permit, for 25 dollars for residents and 142 dollars for nonresidents
- Five-day hunting permit for nonresidents at 75 dollars
- Youth resident hunter license for 5 dollars, but is for ages 16 and 17 only
- 5-year hunting license for residents of Oklahoma at 88 dollars
- Lifetime hunting permit for 625 dollars
These are just some of the common licenses, but you can check on the website for the Wildlife Department for detailed license and permit fees and in the case of any changes to the pricing, you would be able to find that information there.
You can even combine licenses like a fishing and fowl hunting license which would be cheaper than getting them separately.
For further information about duck hunting in Oklahoma, you can contact the authority that manages the sport.