From the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
-- Oklahoma residents can hunt for free and without a hunting license Sept. 4 and 5 as part of the Department of Wildlife Conservation's annual Free Hunting Days.
Free Hunting Days are intended to offer individuals without hunting licenses an opportunity to experience hunting. It's an easy way to take someone hunting because it's free and convenient, according to Bill Hale, assistant chief of law enforcement for the Wildlife Department.
"Some people may not want to buy a hunting license if they are not sure they'll like hunting. But during Free Hunting Days, they can just go and hunt. If they like it - and I know they will - they can then purchase a hunting license and begin enjoying the outdoors through hunting while playing an important role in conservation."
Both dove and squirrel hunting seasons are open during Free Hunting Days, as well as seasons for several species that are open for year-round hunting in Oklahoma.
More seasons become available to licensed hunters later in the fall, including opportunities to hunt deer, turkey, black bear, antelope, elk, rabbit, quail, pheasant, waterfowl and more. The current Oklahoma Hunting Guide outlines details on all of Oklahoma's season dates, daily limits and regulations. The free booklet is available online at http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/huntregs.htm.
Participants can follow up their outdoor experience by attending a hunter education course. Classes are held statewide and teach a range of topics including firearms safety, wildlife identification, wildlife conservation and management, survival, archery, muzzleloading and hunter responsibility.
The course is available as a standard eight-hour course, as an internet home study course or through a workbook home study course. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation say hunter education courses have not only reduced accidents within Oklahoma, but also in every state and Canadian province with similar programs. Over the past 30 years, hunting related accidents and fatalities have declined by more than 70 percent in Oklahoma.