If you aren’t lucky enough to own property holding wildlife, seeking land to hunt or even lease can be a difficult, frustrating process. In addition to all the “no hunting” signs you see, some hunting/fishing groups from the cities are constantly paying high dollar to lease land all across Oklahoma for their club members to enjoy.
Growing up in Beaver County, I was privileged to be able to hunt about anywhere in the county. The farmers I worked for had a significant amount of acreage I could hunt, but the majority of landowners in that part of the state knew my family well enough they’d let us hunt their land. They knew we’d take care of it, and sometimes share our bounty.
After I graduated from Iowa State, I made the trip up to Turpin with some pals to see if we could find any pheasant or quail. I was shocked to see how many “Edmond Hunting Club” type signs were posted. I really couldn’t blame the landowners, as many were being paid to keep CRP fields in addition to leasing the lands to these clubs for some good money.
If this is you, don’t fret, there are still plenty of fields available for you to traverse. I’d suggest looking at the Oklahoma Wildlife Department’s website (www.wildlifedepartment.com). On it, you’ll find a link to public hunting areas including some here in Garfield County. The Drummond Flats contains over 5,000 acres with some timber, a couple of creeks and some timber.
When we aren’t in a drought, these wetlands hold ducks and geese. Pheasant and quail are both present (although like the rest of the state the numbers have continued to decrease). Turkey, rabbit, coyote and dove can also be found on the public grounds and are available to be harvested. Canton, Dewey County, Beaver County, Ellis County and the Salt Plains all have WMAs (Wildlife Management Areas) and are within driving distance and have some large tracts of land to hunt.
Please note in addition to the hunting regulations, there are “area specific” hunting regulations as well. The same webpage mentioned above will provide the information concerning each particular WMA. My last bit of advice is this: this is public ground available to all licensed hunters. As such, it’s possible you encounter strangers or even a large amount of other hunters. Be respectful and courteous but most of all safe. If you tip toe into some timber with a climbing stand looking to find a deer, don’t set up 25 yards from another hunter that’s set up a ground blind. If you come across other’s personal property, leave it be. If someone is already pheasant hunting a quarter you’d like to hunt, don’t start at the other end of the same quarter. That’s enough preaching from me, so get on out there and find ya some wildlife or if you are like me, just get out and sit and solve the world’s problems in your own head.
Until next time, Okies . . .maybe I’ll see ya around the bend.