They are large with a brownish muzzle and a tan body. Coming only second to moose in terms of size, these creatures are magnificent and are found in many states of the country including Oklahoma.
Below I’ve explained everything in detail regarding elk presence in the state, elk hunting season, and whether you can own them.
Are There Any Elk in Oklahoma?
Yes, there is an established population of elk that is spread across protected areas and private lands. These are the second largest species of deer and predominantly live in forests, grasslands, and other habitats where suitable plant life grows. In fact, they eat enormous quantities of plant-based food that their weight reaches anywhere between 700 to 1000 pounds which is huge.
One of the important differentiating features of these marvelous creatures is their enormous antlers. They by themselves measure to 4 feet making elk’s total height to be about 9 feet.
How Many Elk Are in Oklahoma?
As per the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, there are about 5,000 elk individuals living in the state. Note that, similar to other wildlife, their population is unevenly distributed across the state. In fact, most of the elk reside in and around Wichita Mountains in southwest Oklahoma.
Historically, these creatures roamed large expanses of land including the Wichita Mountains. But most of these were extirpated. The land was set aside for refuge in 1901, and in 1910, elks from Yellowstone National Park were reintroduced into the state. The elk began thriving and the rest is history.
Where Can I See Elk in Oklahoma?
Today, elk are prominent and are mostly found in western regions of North America including parts of Oklahoma. Most of the large herds are distributed in Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, Cherokee wildlife management areas, Cookson Hills, Spavinaw, and Pushmataha.
You can also find smaller herds predominantly in private ranches of Kiowa, Comanche, and Caddo counties. Note that, unlike elk in other regions, Oklahoma elk are not migratory and don’t move from habitat to habitat during season changes.
Also Check Our Guide On Elk In Nevada
What Time Of Year Are Elk In Oklahoma?
Elk are found throughout the year in Oklahoma, but they are most active and easy to spot during fall which is between September to October. It is important to note that elk in Oklahoma are non-migratory, so they pretty much occupy the same place/habitat throughout the year.
During fall, these creatures’ “rut” or “breed,” you can find bull and cow together in a single place. This is rare and only happens during fall. Additionally, these creatures are more active and can be seen roaming often during dawn and dusk.
Can You Hunt & Shoot Elk in Oklahoma?
Yes, In fact, as their population increased after re-introduction, the state’s wildlife agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to establish an annual hunting season to control the elk population of the state.
Since then, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has been actively monitoring elk population, distribution and has also been establishing hunting seasons in the state.
The elk hunting season in Oklahoma is between October and January but the specific dates vary from year to year. You can check them out in the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
To hunt elk in the state, you must have a valid hunter license and an elk hunting permit. The permit is allotted through an annual drawing where only a few hunters can obtain these permits. To improve your chances, apply early and go through the regulations and requirements.
Can A Non-Resident Hunt Elk In Oklahoma?
In most cases, hunting elk is legal for non-residents if the population of the elk is stable in the state. While it may seem unfair, the first preference is definitely given to residents. This is not so in the case of Oklahoma hunting season.
Yes, Non-residents can hunt elk in Oklahoma. Similar to residents, non-residents need to obtain a 5-day hunting license over the counter which costs about $75 compared to the resident license.
But there is a difference that while for residents the license allows them to hunt anytime during the season, the non-residents can only hunt in 5 days. Moreover, the annual hunting license for residents is just $25.
Also Check Our Guide On Elk In America
Can You Raise Elk In Oklahoma?
Yes, You can raise elk in Oklahoma. To do that you need to obtain a non-commercial wildlife breeders license. Mostly, if you have already raised or are raising some cattle, you can also easily raise elk as you already have land, equipment, and facilities that elk-like cattle require.
One advantage is that, unlike cattle, elk will also survive on marginal lands. Note that some additional costs like fencing may be incurred during the process.
And that was everything you need to know about the Elk In Oklahoma. I hope this article was informative and your queries were answered.
Thank You For Reading!
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Founder Of This Website
I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.