Military veterans and active military members will be able to join youth hunters for the first time this year on exclusive waterfowl hunting days set aside especially for them.
These special days, Nov. 7 and Feb. 6 statewide except the Panhandle, provide two extra hunting days outside of the regular waterfowl hunting seasons for hunters 15 and younger. Now, active and retired military members can also participate.
In the same vein as youth deer season and youth turkey season, these special waterfowl days are designed to give these groups a first (and last) chance to enjoy an outing when fewer hunters are in the field.
These days are especially good opportunities to take someone new to hunting and to teach them about waterfowl hunting. The earlier date might offer much milder weather, making the hunt more comfortable for youths. And while waterfowl numbers likely won’t be at their peak on Nov. 7, various species are normally present and available for harvest, including wood ducks, teal, gadwall, northern shovelers and redheads.
The post-season date almost certainly will be colder, but larger flights of late-season migrants are a good bet at that time.
An adult must accompany the youth hunter in the field. The accompanying adult must be 18 or older and hunter education certified or exempt, regardless of whether the youth is hunter education certified. This adult cannot hunt ducks, mergansers or coots, unless also qualifying as a veteran or other active duty military, but may participate in other open seasons.
All species and sex specific limits are the same as during the regular seasons.
Those and all other regulations including license requirements, hunting hours and bag limits are detailed in the Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide found online at www.wildlifedepartment.com, in the free Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app for Apple and Android, or in print at license dealers statewide.
ANOTHER YOUTH OPPORTUNITY
Young hunters who want to go on a Wildlife Department guided duck hunt this season at one of several sites across Oklahoma can apply through Nov. 5. The hunts are designed for youths ages 12-15 who have completed the Wildlife Department’s free hunter education course, which can be completed anytime online. Youths can submit a form at wildlifedepartment.com. The youth will be asked to indicate his or her first hunting site preference and two alternate sites. Details are published in the current Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide. Other than meeting the age requirements, applicants must have proof of hunter education and have an adult guardian who can accompany them on the hunt. The scheduled date of the hunt will be coordinated with successful applicants after drawings are held, and a Wildlife Department employee will accompany each youth and the adult guardian for the controlled waterfowl hunt. Only the youth hunter is allowed to hunt. The Wildlife Department will provide successful applicants the required ammunition and a shotgun if the youth does not have his or her own shotgun.
For more information, contact Jeff Neal, migratory bird technician for the Wildlife Department, at (405) 396-2503 or by email at email@example.com.