Each year, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation proposes changes in Title 800, the administrative rules that govern hunting, fishing and Wildlife Department operations. The public comment period for this year’s proposed rule changes opened Dec. 1 and will close at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 4, 2019.
Many proposed changes are simple housekeeping matters, while some are more substantial. Highlights of this year’s rule change proposals include:
- Open all areas south of Interstate 40 and east of U.S. 69 to bear hunting.
- Remove the requirement to complete the “Record of Game” on annual hunting licenses for turkey, deer, elk, bear and antelope, and on paddlefish permits.
- Open raccoon season year-round.
- Remove fish harvest and possession limits on private ponds.
- Establish hunting seasons and dates on the new Neosho Bottoms and Thomas A. Bamberger Sr. Wildlife Management Areas.
- Add language relating to the import, transport or possession of cervid carcasses and live cervids to help protect Oklahoma’s deer and elk populations from the threat of chronic wasting disease (CWD).
- Remove the requirement to draw for permanent waterfowl blinds and allow temporary waterfowl blinds only on these U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs: Canton, Eufaula, Fort Gibson, Fort Supply, W.D. Mayo Lock & Dam 14, Waurika and Webbers Falls.
To read all of the proposed rule changes, go to https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/public-meeting.
Anyone wishing to make comments on any of the proposed rule changes may do so in one of three ways:
- Fill out the online public comment form at wildlifedepartment.com/public-meeting. Online public comment period closes at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 4, 2019.
- Write your comments in a letter and mail to Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Re: Public Comment, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Letters must be postmarked by Jan. 4, 2019.
- Voice comments in person during one of two public hearings beginning at 7 p.m. Jan. 3, 2019. Hearings are scheduled at the Wildlife Department headquarters, 1801 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City, and at Kiamichi Technology Center, 301 Kiamichi Drive in McAlester.
All public comments are collected and reviewed by the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission before the Commissioners consider proposed rule changes during their regular February meeting.