The Duncan Banner

October 10, 2012

Signs of deer population growth as hunting gets under way

Greg Crews
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — April showers surely brought May flowers, but more importantly for Stephens County hunters, they also brought deer.

The effects of last year’s drought are still being felt, said Stephens County Game Warden Jerrod Davis, but thanks to the increased rainfall this year, there are signs of improvement in the deer population as deer season gets under way.

“There was just a general lack of resources last year, and when the resources get scarce, the will only have one fawn or not reproduce at all,” Davis said. “I’ve seen a bunch of twins this year and that’s all based on their resources.”

Archery season for deer began on Oct. 1 in Oklahoma. Muzzleloader season will start on Oct. 27, with modern gun opening on Nov. 17.

Of all the hunting season, Davis said, it is far and away the most popular in Stephens County.

A total of 992 deer were tagged in the county last year, down 42 (4 percent) from 2010 and down 206 (17.2 percent) from 2009.

Davis doesn’t expect the number harvested to see a big upswing this year, though. The deer born this year won’t likely be targeted for a few years.

The cool weather, though, may play a factor in hunters finding more success.

“In colder weather the deer will move around more,” Davis said. “It makes them more active, which produces better hunts.”

Plenty of area hunters are already taking advantage of that during bow season, which has become more popular since crossbows started being allowed during bow season last year.

The most popular place for deer hunting in the area is the Waurika Lake Wildlife Management Area, a 10,580-acre plot which is well stocked with white tail deer according to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife’s website. Seventy-two deer were taken there last year, including 22 by bow. On Saturday, a hunter took a 13-point buck there.

Of course, the most important thing to remember when deer hunting, is to be safe.

“The biggest piece of advice I can give is to be sure to wear your orange when you are supposed to and be sure to identify your target before you shoot,” Davis said.

Now is also the time of the year motorists should be especially on the lookout for deer.

“They are active and feeding, and the bucks will run all over the place chasing does,” Davis said. “They don’t care if a truck is coming or not.”