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Pheasant season opens Saturday but population still recovering

Pheasant season opens in northwest Oklahoma Saturday, but hunters may find birds tough to find. [Thinkstock image]
Pheasant season opens in northwest Oklahoma Saturday, but hunters may find birds tough to find. [Thinkstock image]

Pheasant season opens in northwest Oklahoma on Saturday and hunters may find birds tough to find.

"For anybody who has been out quail hunting, they can expect similar findings," said Allan Janus of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Janus said pheasants need two to three consecutive years of good reproduction to rebuild the bird population.

"Pheasants take longer to rebound than quail do, especially with the weather patterns we have been having that are kind of spotty," he said. "Harper and Beaver and Ellis county got some good rain this year, however, it came a little bit later in the nesting season.

"It came in June and July. It was the same deal we saw with the quail. It wasn't the best time of the year to be getting rain, and we also had drought conditions in parts of the Panhandle. We haven't had that couple of years in a row where it's been good."

Pheasant hunting is restricted to northwest and north-central Oklahoma. Pheasant hunting is allowed in Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Kay, Major, Noble, Texas, Woods and Woodward counties, as well as the portion of Osage County west of State Highway 18, and portions of Blaine, Dewey, Ellis, Kingfisher and Logan counties north of State Highway 51.

Most of the best hunting is on private land, but the Beaver River Wildlife Management Area in western Beaver County and the Drummond Flats WMA in western Garfield County normally will have birds.

The Oklahoma Land Access Program, where the Wildlife Department leases private land for public hunting, has provided more public hunting opportunities for ringnecks, especially in the Panhandle.

"I know folks don't like driving out to Cimarron County, but if folks want access to areas that are open to the public, that might be the best bet," he said. "That's where I'm going."

Hunters can find a map of OLAP properties at www.wildlifedepartment.com/olap.

Quail hunting has been a challenge this season, but a few hunters in northwest Oklahoma are finding success, Janus said.

"Some folks are getting one to two coveys an hour, which isn't super great, but it's not bad," he said.

In addition to pheasant season, dove season reopens on Saturday and runs through Dec. 29. Oklahoma's three-month furbearing season also opens Saturday.

Trout season opens at Dolese Park on Saturday

Oklahoma City's rainbow trout season opens Saturday at the Dolese Youth Park Pond, 5105 NW 50 St.

It will be the 18th year the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department will stock trout in the pond. About 3,700 trout will be put in the pond during the course of the three-month season. Trout will be stocked about every two weeks.

Anglers ages 16-62 must have a state fishing license and an Oklahoma City fishing permit. City fishing permits cost $5 for a daily permit, $10 for a three-day permit and $20 for an annual permit.

Only bank fishing is allowed at Dolese. Only one rod and reel per angler is allowed. The daily catch limit is six trout per angler.

Anglers must have their fish on an individual stringer or fish basket with their name and state fishing license number attached.

For more information, call the H.B. Parsons Fish Hatchery at 405-297-1426 or go to okc.gov/parks.

Tell me your Christmas story

Each year, I look for outdoors stories to share from readers with a Christmas theme. So, if you have a good tale to tell about that special outdoors Christmas gift or adventure, email me at egodfrey@oklahoman.com.

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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