Oklahoma deer hunters no longer need permission from the state wildlife director before killing a white or piebald deer during the deer hunting seasons.
Oklahoma lawmakers have repealed the prohibition against killing such deer without prior approval from the state wildlife director.
House Bill 1314 was signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin last week and is effective immediately.
In 2010, former legislator Terry Harrison of McAlester received a $296 fine from a game warden for killing a white deer during the deer gun season. He was unaware of the regulation that required permission from the state wildlife director.
Since 1998, Oklahoma hunters had been required to get permission from the state wildlife director before harvesting a white or piebald deer. Piebald deer are deer with large white patches.
When a Guthrie hunter took a white buck in Logan County in 1997, it led to a legislative attempt to protect the animals.
There are a pocket of white deer around the state, including in Logan County. White deer are the same as other white-tailed deer except for the color, which is caused by a genetic mutation. White and piebald deer are rare and because of their color, they are more susceptible to predators.
A bill was introduced to make it illegal for hunters to kill white deer in 1998, but what was passed was the regulation which has now been repealed.
It’s been a needless hoop for hunters to jump through because no Oklahoma hunter had ever been denied permission by a state wildlife director to harvest a white deer.
A handful of white deer are taken by hunters each year in Oklahoma.