Hunting

Air rifles legalized for hunting in Oklahoma

Deer hunters will have the option of using another weapon this fall as state wildlife commissioners on Monday approved emergency rules for the use of pneumatic arrow guns during big game hunting seasons. game.

Air guns are also commonly referred to as air bows, but they will be illegal to use in Oklahoma during archery and muzzleloading seasons. The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission classifies the weapon as a firearm for hunting purposes.

“There is nothing about this weapon that constitutes a bow and arrow in the conventional sense,” said Wildlife Commissioner James Barwick of Edmond.

Pneumatic arrow rifles are a hybrid hunting product that uses compressed air to fire an arrow. They have become more popular in recent years, and Oklahoma is one of many states that have legalized them for hunting.

Arizona has allowed the use of pneumatic arrow guns for big game hunting for years and Texas has also legalized them, Barwick said. Safari Club International, the world leader in hunter conservation and advocacy, recently created a new record book designation exclusively for air rifle hunters.

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State lawmakers legalized airguns for hunting in its last legislative session. The wildlife commissioners had to pass emergency rules so that the guns could be used during the next hunting seasons.

Bill Dinkines, wildlife division chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, told commissioners the weapon was “pretty deadly at 50, 60 and 70 yards.”

Scopes are allowed on arrow guns, but not laser sights, unless the hunter is disabled or legally blind. Heat-tracking devices and light-enhancing devices, including night goggles, are not permitted.

Other rules for hunting with pneumatic arrow rifles, such as legal specifications for broadheads, are now listed online at Wildlifedepartment.com. The rules were adopted too late to be included in the print version of the Oklahoma Hunting Guide.

Since air pistols are not included in the Pittman Robertson Act, which imposes excise taxes on hunting gear to be used for conservation, a one-time $20 permit will be required from Oklahoma hunters. who use air-powered arrow guns.

The guns are said to be very accurate and quiet, which appeals to some hunters. Hearing protection is not required when using them.

Miles Hall, owner of Hall and Hall Consulting in Edmond, has been involved in sports shooting for 41 years. He thinks the rifles will become popular among those who hunt deer near suburban areas.

“I think it’s going to catch on,” he said.

Umarex and Benjamin Pioneer are the two main makers of pneumatic arrow guns, but Hall said there will be more companies making the guns and more retailers selling them in the near future as states legalize them for use. hunt.

Prices for guns and accessories range from $200 to $1,000.

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Game wardens save lives

Also at Monday’s meeting, state wildlife commissioners recognized four state game wardens for their rescue efforts.

Riley Willman, a Delaware County game warden, received a Medal of Bravery for saving the life of a drowning man on May 11.

Willman had stopped at the Flint Creek water park to check anglers’ licenses when he heard someone shouting to call 911. An Arkansas man was swimming in the creek and had been sucked into the water falling on the dam.

Willman jumped into the fast-flowing creek, pulled the man to shore, then performed CPR to revive him.

On April 9, Willman and fellow game warden Austin Jackson rescued a fisherman whose boat had capsized on Lake Eucha during a night fishing tournament.

The game wardens navigated six miles of water in their boat in thick fog and currents to reach the man who was clinging to a partially submerged log. Game wardens were able to get close enough in the boat to pull the exhausted man aboard.

“Their actions that night undoubtedly saved the man’s life,” said Nathan Erdmann, chief law enforcement officer for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

In October 2021, Willman also assisted the Delaware County deputy during a mental distress call where a man had barricaded himself inside his home. At the entrance, it was discovered that the man had cut his wrists. Willman applied a tourniquet to his wounds to prevent the man from bleeding to death at the scene.

On September 26, 2020, Noble County Game Warden Stephen Paul was preparing to take his family out to dinner when he received a frantic call from the Sheriff’s Department about a possible drowning in progress on Sooner Lake.

Paul headed out to Sooner Lake on a windy day with gusts over 45 mph to search for one of the two brothers who had jumped into the lake to retrieve a can of gas. The pontoon boat had run out of gas, and the brothers had dropped the gas can while trying to refuel the boat.

A brother clung to the gas can as he walked away from the boat. Paul started a search in the area and spotted a red dot between 3 and 4 foot lake swells. The red dot in the distance turned out to be the gas can and Paul was able to save the man.

On January 19 of this year, Osage County Game Warden Larry Green was contacted by dispatch about three duck hunters whose boat had capsized on Kaw Lake. Green launched his boat through cold temperatures and choppy choppy waters to reach the duck hunters, who were suffering from hypothermia when they were rescued.

“Larry risked his life to reach the three duck hunters,” Erdmann said.

Also, on Monday, Kingfisher County game warden Blake Pearson was recognized as the state’s game warden of the year.

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Field Day at Lexington WMA

The Lexington Wildlife Management Area will host a field day on August 17 for landowners to learn about prescribed fires and land management.

Topics will include the use of prescribed burns to benefit wildlife or livestock, safety, and effects on plants and animals.

To attend, RSVP by Wednesday, August 10 to Brad Secraw at 405-321-4774 or [email protected] Lunch will be provided.

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Sports clays shoot to raise money for DU

The Guthrie Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will be hosting a fun shoot on August 20 at Silverleaf Shotgun Sports near Guthrie.

Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m. with a safety meeting at 9 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the top three shooters in all classes.

The cost is $120 per shooter and $600 for a team of five. The cost for shooters ages 10-17 is $90, but they must be accompanied by an adult.

Lunch will be included and there will be games and raffles. For more information, contact Chauncey Watts at 405-278-1943 or Paul Fincher at 405-850-0275, or email [email protected]