Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

December 4, 2012

Deer population healthier than ever

TAHLEQUAH — While local hunters may be bagging their share of deer during the regular season, drivers in Cherokee County are taking out their fair share, too – and this year, the number of accidents involving deer seems higher than before.

Unseasonably warm weather and drought conditions in 2012 have impacted the availability of food and water, and have caused deer to move outside their normal patterns. This has brought them in closer contact with populated areas and human activity.

According to Cherokee County Game Ranger Brady May, the likelihood of bagging a deer under controlled conditions – like with a corn feeder – increases, as will the chances of meeting a deer trying to cross the road. The chance of seeing deer on roadways is at its peak during mating season.

“People may see deer along the highway during the rub, when they’re moving and breeding, which is pretty much over now,” May said. “This year, it was right around muzzleloader season and over by the time gun season started.”

Outdoor sportsman who enjoy hunting deer have from Oct. 1 to Jan. 15 to claim their trophy bucks in Oklahoma. In 2011, Cherokee County reported 3,293 kills, second only to Atoka County, which reported 3,386 deer harvested.

Nationally, about 1.5 million deer-vehicle accidents occur each year, according to the Institute for Highway Safety. The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reports that about 1,650 animal-related crashes take place each year.

Because not every accident is reported to authorities, it is difficult to provide exact numbers, officials say. Lifelong residents of Oklahoma should be aware of the road dangers deer season can present and need to exercise caution when driving early in the morning or late at night, said May.

“What you, as individuals, have seen on the highway hasn’t changed in the past 10 years,” he said. “They know when deer season is and know when they start rutting and running. They need to start slowing down on the highway at night. People around here have a long history associated with hunting and deer season, and that’s not news to them.”

According to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the archery deer season opens Oct. 1 and runs through Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. The muzzleloader season began Oct. 27 and closed Saturday, Nov. 4, while the deer gun season opened Nov. 17 and closed Sunday, Dec. 2.

The total number of deer harvested in Cherokee County this season won’t be available until after Jan. 15. But as of Dec. 2, the Tahlequah check-in station, or the Phillips 66 convenience store on Allen Road, has recorded 121 kills, while the Keys check-in station, Jimmy Houston Outdoors, has logged 363 used deer tags.

Though drivers seem to be seeing more deer along roadways, the need to expand the hunting season to manage the deer population is not a big topic of discussion, said May.

“After our 16-day gun season, most people are sick of hunting. There was very little participation this last week,” he said. “And we have so much opportunity with the holiday coming up. Deer season, basically, starts Oct. 1 and runs into January. I haven’t seen any public hearing notice or request to open up additional opportunity. Even if we did, I don’t think there are enough sportsman to take advantage of it, and you’re limited on the number you can harvest. You can take up to six a year, but most only take one or two.”

According to the ODWC, the combined season limit for deer archery, youth deer gun, deer muzzleloader and deer gun seasons is no more than six deer per hunter. This limit may include no more than two antlered deer, reduced from three to two five years ago, and may be reduced to a one-buck limit, said May.

“There is some discussion about trying to reduce the number of younger bucks harvested. I believe there is a public hearing scheduled in January,” he said.

Drivers along State Highways 10 and 82 have reported the number of dead deer on the roadside seems to have increased.Sportsmen point out some of these deer may have been injured by a hunter and later died elsewhere. A few reports have been logged indicating the antlers of deer killed on the highway have been taken for trophies, either by drivers who hit them or trophy hunters passing by.

“The idea to restrict hunters to harvesting just one antlered deer during muzzleloader or gun season denotes the number of individuals trying to bag their trophy buck,” said Scott Pettus, a local outdoor sportsman who owns hunting acreage in the Tahlequah area.

“Our deer population around here is certainly healthy. I think Cherokee County is either second or third in the state ever year, as far as deer harvest numbers go.”

Hunters using the online check-in system has made monitoring the number of used tags difficult on a local level, said Cherokee County Game Ranger Anthony Clark.

 

To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • rf-poker-run-main.jpg Poker run

    Fundraiser was in the cards for local philanthropic group

    It was perfect weather, with temperatures in the high 80s Saturday, as boaters filled their vessels with friends for a fun afternoon on Lake Tenkiller. A crowd gathered at Cookson Bend Marina, and folks lined up to support a local charity event.
    As fundraisers go, the Beta Sigma Phi Mu Omega Poker Run last Saturday could be considered huge success, as nearly $9,000 was collected.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • bilbrey-anthony.jpg Man arrested for blackmailing woman for sex

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies put a man behind bars Monday night after he allegedly tried to blackmail a woman by threatening to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she did not meet him for sex.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peach_photo_2.jpg Peach crop lean, but fruit still available

    Summer is all about peaches in Porter – especially at Livesay Orchard.
    The Livesay Orchard is still busy a week after Porter’s annual peach festival. The orchard’s crop this year was cut in half from what had previously been expected, according to Kent Livesay, one of the owners of the orchard.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • jackson-jaymee.jpg Tot’s injuries prompt abuse charges for two local residents

    A Tahlequah couple was formally charged Tuesday with child neglect and child abuse after an 18-month-old girl was found with a number of injuries.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • proctor-micah.jpg Pair accused of threatening man

    Two men behind bars at the Cherokee County Detention Center are accused of wielding a knife and gun and assaulting a man at a trailer park on West Keetoowah Sunday afternoon.
    Tahlequah Officer Reed Felts spoke with Reinaldo Flores, who told officers he heard a knock on his door and went to answer it.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reach Higher an innovative approach to college

    The “Reach Higher” degree completion program is helping many Oklahoma students go back to school without drastically changing their lives.
    “This program is designed for working adults,” said Tim McElroy, program coordinator at the NSU- Muskogee campus.

    July 30, 2014

  • City attorney, others questioned chamber use of tourism tax

    Letters written in 2006 by City Attorney Park Medearis to former city councilor and Tahlequah Area Tourism Council board member Jack Spears suggest money from a hotel-motel tax could be disbursed through an agent other than the Chamber of Commerce, without voter approval.

    July 30, 2014

  • Hulbert council discusses Internet service

    During a meeting Tuesday night, members of the Hulbert Town Council discussed the possibility of Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s extending its cable and Internet service.

    July 30, 2014

  • ts-marching-MAIN.jpg Marching in step

    Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band kicks off 2014 season with summer drills.

    The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band has added 30-35 freshmen to its roster this year, and drills began for the newest members last Thursday.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • studie-roberta.jpg Woman accused of stealing cash, taking it to casino

    A 35-year-old Tahlequah woman is free on bond after she allegedly took $1,200 from a man who had been jailed for old warrants.
    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies said they spoke with Jason Jones last week after Jones was arrested by park rangers for the outstanding warrants. Jones said he came to Oklahoma to see family, and when he was arrested, he left his wallet and cash with one of his daughters.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Stocks