Members of the public will have several opportunities soon to voice their concerns in person about proposed changes in the administrative rules that govern hunting, fishing and operation of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Two public hearings are scheduled:
Oklahoma City: 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, at Wildlife Department interim headquarters, 2145 NE 36th St.
Afton: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, Northeast Technology Center auditorium, 19901 U.S. 69.
Citizens are invited to attend and share their comments on the proposed rule changes. All comments are recorded and reviewed by the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission before any action is taken on the rule change proposals.
If approved, the proposals will change the state’s Title 800. Public comments on the proposed rule changes are being received now through 4:30 p.m. Jan. 12, 2017.
Many proposed changes for 2017 are simple housekeeping matters, while some are more substantial. Highlights of this year's rule change proposals include:
Close snagging from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in areas east of Interstate 35 and north of Interstate 40 except a portion of the Neosho River along Miami City Park from the State Highway 125 bridge to the southern boat ramp, which shall remain open.
Allow deer hunters to use a leashed tracking dog to help locate downed deer after obtaining game warden permission, provided the hunters have no means-of-take on their person while tracking.
Change deer archery season on Love Valley and Hickory Creek wildlife management areas to run the same dates as the statewide season.
Add Oklahoma Land Access Program (OLAP) regulations for walk-in hunting, fishing and stream access. OLAP is a program in development that will lease lands for public fishing and hunting access. New rules specific to OLAP are necessary to administer the program and enforce regulations.
To read all of the proposed rule changes, go to www.wildlifedepartment.com/public-meeting.
But don’t worry if you are not able to attend one of the public hearings. The Department provides two additional ways for citizens to share their opinions -– in support or against -– the rule change proposals.
Comments may be submitted via the Internet. Fill out the online public comment form at wildlifedepartment.com. Online public comment period will close at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 12, 2017.
Also, comments may be submitted in a letter. Mail your letter to Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Re: Public Comment, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Letters must be received by 4:30 p.m. Jan. 12, 2017.