Oklahoma Senate Votes on Bill to Open “Velvet Buck” Archery Season
Oklahoma Senate Bill 910 would create a nine-day archery velvet buck season, in late August. The season would begin the last Saturday morning before the last weekend of August. It would continue to run through the Sunday evening of the last weekend of August. Senate Bill 910 states that each hunter could only harvest one velvet buck per season. In turn, that buck would count towards the regular season’s two-buck limit.
Velvet bucks have become a coveted hunt for many hunters. Deer, along with other Cervidae species, undergo an antler growth period. During this growth stage the antlers are covered in a velvet. For they have not calcified yet. Currently, only a small handful of states have special velvet buck season. A few participating states include North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Some states do offer special issued tags or permits. Oksentate.gov, reported, Sen. Stephens said, “Oklahoma’s tourism industry would greatly benefit from introducing a velvet buck season as only a few states offer this season. Hunters from across the country will be looking to travel to our state to take part in the first season and many thereafter.”
Oklahoma’s News On 6 interviewed Oklahoma Senator Stephens, Senator Stephens stated, though it’s not specified in the bill, it’s likely, “the velvet buck season would only be open on private land.” The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation said about 30% of hunters rely on public land for hunting. Sen. Stephens said, “there would be opportunity to expand and open it to public land in years to come.” He went on to say Oklahomans would have priority with 90% of all velvet buck permits going to Oklahoma resident hunters.
The Oklahoma Senate has voted to approve SB 910 opening a “velvet buck” season. The bill is now pushed to the House of Representatives for the next step of approval. If Senate Bill 910 becomes law, the Oklahoma Wildlife Commission would issue regulations. However, the new regulations and season would likely not come into effect until the 2024-2025 deer season.