Duck hunting in Oklahoma truly hits its stride around the middle of December through the first week of January. That’s because Mallards arrive in town, and duck season kicks into high gear.
Even in those months, however, so much depends on the weather leading into duck season. Ducks love water; if the rainy days are few and far between, duck season is bound to be disappointing.
It also depends on how things are going up north before the ducks decide to head south for the winter. One thing is for sure when the ducks arrive in Oklahoma, they tend to hang out for a while.
Duck Hunting in Oklahoma
During the 2021 to 2022 duck hunting season, over 300,000 ducks were bagged, coming to an average of 13 ducks per active, participating hunter. That’s a good season, no matter who you are.
Oklahoma isn’t a stand-out state when it comes to duck hunting, but it’s certainly a state that should be in the conversation. There are a lot of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in Oklahoma that have large bodies of water, which is something ducks look for.
Oklahoma has over 1 million acres of public hunting land, so the opportunities are vast, even for someone who doesn’t belong to a hunter’s club or participates in duck hunting outfitters. The US Army Corps of Engineers maintains 27 properties that are open to and focused on duck hunting.
Duck Hunting Season Oklahoma
Duck hunting season in Oklahoma falls under the “waterfowl” bracket and is divided up into two zones and the panhandle of Oklahoma. Waterfowl hunting for zones one and two open up in mid-November and lasts about ten days.
For the same zones, it opens up again in the first week of December and lasts through most of January, ending just before the month is out. Youth, veterans, and active military have straight hunting dates from the first week of October to the first week of February.
Waterfowl hunting in the Panhandle opens earlier and isn’t broken up into two dates.
Around the end of the first week of October to mid-October, waterfowl hunting in the Panhandle begins. It doesn’t have a break like zones one and two but continues through to the first week of January.
Youth, veterans, and active duty military start in the first week of November and go until the first week of February.
Where to Duck Hunt in Oklahoma
Oklahoma often ends up being the final destination for ducks migrating south for the winter. The Northwest Salt Plains is one of the hot spots each duck season, along with Fort Supply Lake.
Fort Supply Lake is often a featured location for duck hunting and is a very popular location with local waterfowl hunters. In the south, Kerr Lake, Wister Hugo, Texoma, and the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge are popular duck destinations as well.
If you are in the middle of Oklahoma, travel due north to find Sooner Lake, Hulah, and Optima Lake. In the Northeast, comparably popular spots are Verdigris River Valley, Fort Gibson, and Oologah Lake.
What Ducks can you Shoot
In Oklahoma, there are only a small group of duck species frequenting the area throughout the winter months. Mallards, wood ducks, redheads, canvasbacks, scaups, pintails, and mergansers are the only ducks Oklahoma focuses on in its rules and regulations.
Mergansers are technically separate. However, if you shoot and bag a Merganser, it goes toward your duck bag limit for the day.
In terms of the overall daily bag limit, you can only bring home six. But, there are limitations among the various duck species as well.
- Five mallards
- Two redheads
- Three wood ducks
- Two canvasbacks
- One scaup
- One pintail
- One merganser
Duck hunting in Oklahoma is mostly a hidden gem. Most non-Oklahomans don’t have a clue about the duck population in the winter. That’s just fine with Oklahoma residents, as that leaves more for them.
Oklahoma happens to be in the migratory route when waterfowl migrate south for the winter. It’s also just south enough that many ducks never bother leaving (at least until it warms up again).
It works out great for waterfowl hunters, especially with Oklahoma’s pretty broad duck hunting season. There is plenty of time for everyone to hit that thirteen-duck average.
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