Opening day of dove hunting season is just days away. As sportsmen and sportswomen prepare their camo, shotguns and decoys for this season, the Wildlife Department reminds hunters to make sure they have the required licenses, permits and certifications allowing them to hunt before going afield.
"An expired license is an easy thing to overlook by mistake," said Mike Chrisman, license section supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "Most annual hunting licenses for residents expire on the last day of the year. And sometimes, people will forget that the old license in their wallet is out of date."
License and permit revenues form the backbone of funding for the Wildlife Department's fish and wildlife conservation and management activities. The Wildlife Department receives no general tax appropriations from the state.
"The annual resident hunting or fishing license costs just $25, and that price has remained the same for many years," Chrisman said. "Every time you buy a license, you are helping fund conservation activities that improve hunting and fishing across Oklahoma."
Hunting seasons that will open soon include dove on Sept. 1; teal and resident Canada goose, Sept. 10; rabbit, Oct. 1; and archery seasons for deer, elk, turkey, antelope and black bear, Oct. 1.
To find out which hunting licenses, permits and certifications are required when in the field and who is exempt from specific licenses or permits, consult the 2016-17 Oklahoma Hunting & Fishing Regulations Guide online at wildlifedepartment.com/laws_regs.htm or in print wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
In addition, license reference guides are online at wildlifedepartment.com/ license/resident.pdf for state resident hunters, and wildlifedepartment.com/license/nonresidentlicense.pdf for nonresident hunters. And most hunters ages 10-30 are required to be hunter education-certified unless designated as an apprentice.
Hunters and anglers who buy licenses have helped bring back wild turkey populations rivaling those found here around the turn of the 20th century. License revenue helped bring fish species to the state that our fathers could only dream about: striped bass, saugeye, trout and hybrid striped bass. And the Department's deer management programs, paid for with license revenues, have garnered national honors and produced annual deer harvests around 90,000 in the past several years.
All required hunting licenses and permits are available at the Wildlife Department's online License Counter at wildlifedepartment.com/licensing. Licenses are also sold by hundreds of authorized vendors across the state.
Sales of resident lifetime, senior citizen lifetime and disabled veteran lifetime licenses require additional paperwork and are only sold at Wildlife Department headquarters or by mail. Anyone needing to buy a license in person can visit the Wildlife Department's Oklahoma City temporary headquarters, 2145 N.E. 36th St. For more information, call the License Section at (405) 521-3852.