New turkey hunting regulation established

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 10:58 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Turkey hunters and conservationists across the state react to new turkey hunting regulations established this week.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife conservation commission met Monday to discuss and vote on new turkey rules and regulations. A major topic of discussion the past few years has been the ongoing decline in the turkey population, and what to do to combat it.

During the meeting they voted to reduce the turkey bag limit from three to one statewide next year.

They also voted to push the dates of the 2022 spring season back a week.

“All of the research that we’re getting through different research projects is showing that allowing those hens to get nested and start laying and incubating before we start hunting them has been a big help,” T.J. Goodpasture, NWTF Mid-south Director of Development said. “So we’re glad to see that.”

Goodpasture works for the National Turkey Wildlife Federation, a nonprofit organization, whose mission is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of the hunting heritage.

He said the decline in turkey numbers is not just an Oklahoma issue.

“People who are only in Oklahoma, they’re not seeing many birds so they think oh well Oklahoma is declining but it’s a lot bigger than that,” Goodpasture said. “Kansas has already reduced their regulations, Texas is starting to see some declines in bird numbers.”

He said habitat is a huge factor when it comes to declines in the turkey population...something hunters and landowners can influence.

“Habitat can always be the base of what we kind of build on for the other symptoms of what’s causing that because if you don’t have good habitat, you can spend a lot of time on those other problems and it may or may not help,” Goodpasture said. “That’s where we can have the biggest impact as hunters and landowners. Try to get that right first while we figure out the other stuff.”

Other changes approved in the meeting were No Hen Turkey allowed in the fall season, Archery or shotgun only in the fall season, and Youth season will be the weekend before the spring regular season.

More information on the turkey hunting rules and regulations can be found on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife’s website.

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