ADA — The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will be holding public hearings across the state Jan. 8-9 to collect input on a number of proposed hunting and fishing regulation changes. Citizens are encouraged to attend and voice their opinions on a broad list of proposals covering everything from deer hunting to trout fishing.

One such hearing is scheduled for Jan. 9 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada.

Several of the proposals involve adjustments to deer bag limits and hunting regulations, among them a proposal to reduce the state’s combined annual antlered deer limit from three to two. Also on the table is a proposal to establish an Experimental Quality Deer Management Unit in southwest Oklahoma. The proposed combined annual deer bag limit for the unit would include no more than one antlered deer. Additionally, a proposal has been made to allow the harvest of a buck along with a doe during the youth gun season, resulting in a youth gun season bag limit of one antlered and one antlerless deer.

Some of the proposed changes slated for discussion could allow for increased opportunities to harvest game, such as a proposal to allow the harvest of river otters in certain counties.

Mike Shaw, wildlife research supervisor for the Wildlife Department, said the hearings provide an important part in the process of getting input from Oklahoma hunters and anglers regarding our state’s game and fish regulations.

“We always endeavor to do what’s best for our state’s wildlife and habitat as well as the people who enjoy them. These public hearings give us a way to gather valuable input from those in our state who are often most interested in the well-being of Oklahoma’s wildlife,” Shaw said.

Regulation changes typically originate from proposals by Department staff and citizens, and selected proposals advance toward further consideration. After first being considered by a review committee of Wildlife Department personnel, recommendations are scheduled for public hearings, where citizens have the opportunity to comment on proposed regulation changes. Public comments and recommendations are then brought before the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Wildlife Department’s governing board. The Commission can then make decisions to accept, amend or reject the recommendations.

Those unable to attend the hearings are encouraged to send their comments by mail to: Attn: Proposed hunting and fishing regulation changes – Wildlife Department, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. All comments are weighted equally whether received in writing or delivered at the public hearings.

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