In this installment of Ask a Game Warden, reader Chrissy Chaiet asks, “Are all rattlesnakes protected in Oklahoma or only certain species? Can you catch and hunt them?”
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Game Warden Ty Runyan has an answer.
“In the state of Oklahoma, rattlesnakes are listed as a game species and have their own set of rules,” Runyan said. “Rattlesnakes — prairie, western diamondback, timber and massasauga — are legal to harvest with no daily limit from March 1 through June 30.”
While legal, Runyan said, hunters must have the appropriate license.
“Any person participating in an organized rattlesnake hunt or festival must have a rattlesnake permit, unless exempt,” Runyan said.
While hunting rattlesnakes in Oklahoma is legal in season and with the proper permits, Runyan said those rules don’t necessarily apply to landowners trying to protect their livestock or property.
“Nothing prohibits the control of reptiles, other than those listed as endangered or threatened, by landowners, lessees or occupants of land when reptiles are creating a nuisance,” Runyan said.
Wardens warn landowners, however, that there are certain things they are not allowed to do while attempting to rid themselves of nuisance reptiles.
“It is unlawful to introduce, deposit, place or drain any deleterious, noxious, toxic or petroleum-based substances into or around any underground dens or rock crevices for the purpose of (eliminating) reptiles or amphibians,” Runyan said.
“In other words, you can’t pollute the earth to get rid of them.”
If you have a question for Oklahoma Game Wardens, or any other law enforcement officer in Oklahoma, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to get you an answer.
Contact Carl Lewis at 580-310-7520, or by email at email@example.com.