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Deer hunters have successful opening weekend

Pardon the pun, but the 2003 Oklahoma deer gun season has started off with a bang.

“I have been hearing quite a few good reports,” said Russ Horton, central region wildlife biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “In fact I even heard of one check station that had run out of tags.”

According to Horton, the recent cold weather snap came at just the right time for deer hunters.

“Most hunters would prefer a little less wind, but overall the weather has been really nice, it sure beats rain or hot, humid weather,” Horton said.

For the first time in over 30 years hunters have the opportunity to hunt a full 16 days during the deer gun season. Running Nov. 22 through Dec. 7, the deer gun season is undoubtedly Oklahoma’s most popular hunting event and hunters have reason to be excited about the remainder of the season.

“I have been a little surprised by the number of big bucks that I have seen checked in,” Horton said. “Perhaps some hunters are taking the extra time to pass on some of the younger bucks and take a trophy deer. We may have also hit the tail end of the rut during this year’s season which is always good news for hunters.”

While every hunter enjoys being outdoors and the thrill of the chase, venison also provides nutritious and delicious meals for hunters and their families. This year, just like in years past, many hunters are taking that a step further.

Each year Oklahoma hunters donate thousands of pounds of venison to the Hunters Against Hunger program. The program, co-sponsored by Nature Works Inc. in cooperation with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, facilitates the distribution of deer meat to hungry families in the state.

Hunters who legally harvest a deer during this year's deer seasons can simply deliver the deer to the nearest participating meat processor after checking the deer in. To help with processing charges, each donor is requested to contribute a tax-deductible $10 to assist with the program. The ground venison will then be distributed to the needy through a network of qualified, charitable organizations.

To find out more about the Hunters Against Hunger Program, or for a list of cooperating meat processors, check out page 24 of the “2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide."

For additional information about deer hunting including regulations, antlerless zones, and check station locations, be sure to pick up a copy of the “2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" available at all license dealer locations or log on to the Department's Web site at wildlifedepartment.com<.





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