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News Articles

03
Pheasant hunters anticipate another good season
By Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Nov 30, 2004

Pheasant season opens December 1 from northcentral Oklahoma all the way through the panhandle. For many, there is no better way to spend a day than to roam the rolling hills of northwest Oklahoma hunting the colorful birds.

Populations of the popular game birds appear to be in good shape going into the season, according to Steve Conrady, northwest senior biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for the northwest part of the state.

“We had a few isolated spring hail storms that affected brood survival in a few areas, but overall pheasant numbers are increasing over the past five years,” Conrady said.

According to Conrady, there are several other factors that can be attributed to the increase in pheasant populations in the northwest.

“Over the past 10 years we have seen an increase in the diversity of crops, an increase in no-till farming practices and an increase in the acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. Along with favorable weather, I think these are the four main reasons we have enjoyed a rise in pheasant numbers,” Conrady said.

Panhandle pheasant hunters also have plenty to look forward to.

“We had a good hatch and I think the pheasant numbers will be real comparable to last year or even slightly higher,” said Danny Watson, wildlife biologist at Beaver River, Optima and Rita Blanca wildlife management areas.

According to Watson, hunters will have the best success by keying in on areas that are part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), particularly those near milo fields. Additionally, brushy fencerows and the corners of irrigated crop fields are likely places to find pheasants. Both Watson and Conrady emphasized the importance of obtaining landowner permission prior to hunting.

The season runs December 1 through January 31, 2005, and hunters should consult the “2004-05 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” for open zones and wildlife management areas. The daily bag limit for pheasants is two cocks, with a possession limit of four after the first day and six after the second day. Pheasant hunters should note that legal shooting hours are sunrise to sunset, except on some wildlife management areas. Evidence of sex (head or one foot) must remain on the bird until it reaches its final destination. When the deer gun and the special antlerless deer seasons (in open zones) overlap with pheasant season, all pheasant hunters must wear either a hunter orange cap or vest.

Before going afield, be sure to pick up a copy of the “2004-05 Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” available at all hunting and fishing license dealers or log onto www.wildlifedepartment.com.

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