Muzzleloader Season Opens October 23rd In Oklahoma
Each year you can expect the hunting seasons to follow the same trend of when they open. Archery gets the first pickings and the longest season starting on October 1st each year. The kiddos get the first crack at hunting with modern rifles during the youth gun season for a weekend, and muzzleloaders always follow a week later for nine days of smoking up the woods. If you enjoy hunting with a smoke pole, it starts this weekend at sunrise on October 23rd.
If you're not from Oklahoma but want to hunt this season while you're here, there are some things you should know that can keep you out of deep trouble.
The Firearm: Most states around this country refer to this season as "Black Powder" season. Oklahoma doesn't. In this state, it's specifically called "Muzzleloader" season because the only legal primitive firearms allowed to be used must be loaded from the muzzle. These modern-day, super accurate, reach-out-and-touch-somebody long-range breech loading black powder rifles are illegal to use during this season.
There is also a caliber restriction placed on legal muzzleloader firearms of .40 cal at a minimum. I have a friend that successfully harvested a deer in Northeast OK with a vintage .38 caliber flintlock a few years ago. Even though the game warden was equally impressed as the rest of us, he had to seize the deer and take the gun. My friend got it back after paying his fines, but still, it was the smallest mistake that cost him a trophy.
The Region: It's important to understand and know what the regulations are for your harvest allotment where you're hunting. Comanche County is classified as Zone 8, where you can harvest a total of four anterless deer during muzzleloader season, but that's also the maximum total allowed over the combined seasons.
To our East and also to the North, hunters end up in different designated zones where you're only legal to harvest two anterless deer over the combined seasons. If you're leasing, using, or hunting on public lands, it's up to you to know the limits where you hunt as it's not super-clear when purchasing additional tags and usually only comes up after you've checked in your tags.
How does that impact your total harvested amount? Well, if you're hunting in the East and/or North zones where the anterless limit is two, you can still come back West into Zone 8 and harvest an additional two to fill your 2021 antlerless allotment of four. You're also still allowed two total antlered deer combined across all seasons everywhere.
If you're confused, you're not alone. The regulations aren't written as plain and clear as they could be, but the state can't generate revenue without charging some a stupid-tax.
If you're planning on getting in on the primitive firearm season, it's still a little early for that rut, so you'll want to put in some time doing your homework by scouting. With today's technology, it's become pretty easy, you just have to take a few pro-tips from a guy that knows how to make it all work to maximize your success.