The antelope archery season will start more than two weeks later this year.
On Monday, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to change the bow hunting season for antelope to Oct. 1-13. The 2010 season was Sept. 13-26.
State wildlife official requested the later season dates so hunters who win the once-in-a-lifetime” antelope gun hunts through the controlled hunts program would get the first crack at the prairie goats.
Oklahoma has a huntable population of pronghorn antelope in the Panhandle counties of Cimarron and Texas.
Gun hunts are only available through the controlled hunts program (a random drawing for hunts through the Wildlife Department).
Most of the antelope hunting iin Oklahoma is on private land. Hunters winning a controlled gun hunt still must obtain landowner permission. Most landowners sell trespass permits for the hunts.
Two years ago, the state Wildlife Department opened a two-week archery season in mid-September for all antelope hunters who bought a license.
Last year, 257 antelope were taken by Oklahoma hunters in both the archery season and special gun hunts.
State wildlife officials say that represents less than 10 percent of the estimated population of antelope in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Hunters can apply now through May 15 for the antelope gun hunts and other 2011-12 controlled hunts online at www.wildlifedepartment.com.