Oklahoma Waterfowlers Early Season Shots

It won’t be long before crisp northerly breezes begin pushing waves of waterfowl southward into the Sooner State. And now is the time for hunters to start getting ready.

EARLY SEASONS: Beginning this Saturday, Sept. 7, waterfowlers will be able to get their waders wet with the opening of September teal season and special resident Canada goose season. For 16 days statewide, early-migrating teal will offer some fast and furious action over the decoys. And the resident honker populations will give goose hunters a chance to tune up the old goose call through Sept. 16 statewide. All of the usual waterfowl hunting regulations apply; for details, see the current Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide.

LICENSES, PERMITS: All required licenses and permits for waterfowl hunting, including the federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (duck stamp) and federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit, are available at Go Outdoors Oklahoma, the Wildlife Department’s online licensing system. All hunters and anglers, including lifetime license holders, are encouraged to log in to their existing profile at license.GoOutdoorsOklahoma.com and verify their information now so they can begin realizing the customer service benefits of the new system.

BLIND SITE DRAWINGS: Mark your calendar for Sept. 21 if you are hoping to draw out for a season-long waterfowl blind site at specified lakes statewide. To enter the drawings, applicants must be at least age 16 and possess a valid hunting license, HIP permit, signed federal duck stamp, and valid Oklahoma waterfowl license unless exempt.

Fort Gibson, Eufaula, Webbers Falls and W.D. Mayo: Drawings will be held at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s field office near Porter, about two miles north of the Muskogee Turnpike on U.S. 69. Registration for Fort Gibson will begin at 7 a.m.; Eufaula, 9:30 a.m.; Webbers Falls, noon; and W.D. Mayo, 2:30 p.m. Drawings will begin an hour after registration opens.

Waurika Lake: Drawings will be at 9 a.m. at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office, 5900 Waurika Dam Road, Hastings.

Fort Supply: Blind site permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Wildlife Department’s northwest region office, 3014 Lakeview Drive, Woodward.

Canton: Blind site permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Canton Wildlife Management Area headquarters.

YOUTH WATERFOWL DAYS: Two days are designated as special youth-only hunting opportunities outside of the regular waterfowl season dates. The first waterfowl hunting youth day this year will be Oct. 5 in all of Oklahoma. The second youth day will be Feb. 1, 2020. Hunters must be 15 or younger and accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 or older. All of the usual waterfowl hunting regulations apply; for details, see the current Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide.

REGULAR WATERFOWL SEASONS: On Oct. 12, hunting season for ducks, mergansers and coots will open in the three Panhandle counties, and it will remain open through Jan. 8. In Duck Zone 1 (much of northwestern Oklahoma), the season will be open Oct. 26-Dec. 1, then reopen Dec. 14-Jan. 19. In Duck Zone 2 (northeastern and southern Oklahoma), the season will be open Nov. 2-Dec. 1, then reopen Dec. 14-Jan. 26.

Sandhill cranes may be hunted west of Interstate 35 from Oct. 26-Jan. 26. A federal sandhill crane harvest permit is required in addition to other waterfowl licenses.

All goose seasons will be open statewide Nov. 2-Dec. 1, then reopen Dec. 14. The season for white-fronted geese will close Feb. 9, and the seasons for dark geese and light geese will close Feb. 16.

WETLAND DEVELOPMENT UNITS: The Department maintains about 30 WDUs across the state that are managed for waterfowl habitat and hunting opportunities. Hunting on these areas is generally limited to half-days only. Status reports are issued periodically during hunting season on the conditions existing in these units. Go to the Department’s Waterfowl Hunting Page to find these reports and other useful information.

(UPDATE: The Deep Fork/Eufaula Wetland Development Unit, part of the Eufaula Wildlife Management Area’s Deep Fork Arm, will not be artificially flooded this coming season because of concerns over the health of the standing timber in the unit, said J.D. Ridge, Northeast Region senior biologist with the Wildlife Department.)

For complete information and license requirements, consult the current Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide found online at wildlifedepartment.com, on the Go Outdoors Oklahoma free mobile app for Apple or Android devices, or in print across the state wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.