, Muskogee, OK

May 3, 2013

Controlled hunts deadline approach

By John Kilgore
Phoenix Outdoors Columnist

— There’s less than two weeks left to apply for controlled hunts. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s popular controlled hunts program application period will close May 15.

The program offers once-in-a-lifetime elk and antelope hunts, highly sought-after buck hunts, and other quality hunting opportunities through randomized drawings that only cost sportsmen $5 to enter.

There are different categories of hunts besides these.deer hunts for motor vehicle and non-ambulatory permittees, spring 2014 turkey hunts as well as youth deer and turkey hunts,   Opportunities offered through the program include hunts on department or other government-owned or managed lands where unrestricted hunting would pose safety concerns or where overharvest might occur.

The online application process takes just a few minutes and must be completed through the wildlife department’s website at

“Whether you want to hunt a bull elk in the Wichita Mountains, an antelope in the Panhandle or a trophy buck at locations across the state like the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, the controlled hunts program is one of the best things going in Oklahoma hunting,” said Melinda Sturgess-Streich, the department’s assistant director of administration and finance.

Through the 25-plus years I have applied, I’ve been blessed to be selected for the bull elk and antelope hunt. Chased the elk through the Wichita Mountains while encountering a bluff-charging bison and tried to herd up some antelope. Brought home a bull elk, but, nope, no antelope.

If drawn for the elk hunt, the wildlife department encourages that you bring along a  helper and trust me, they tell you that for a reason. Although not allowed to go afield and join you on the hunt itself, the helper can assist in getting the animal out of the canyons.

Unfortunately, it was advice which I didn’t heed, thanks to a couple of my ex-compadres that bailed on me at the last minute.  Kidding aside, it was one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of my hunting career.

All applicants, including lifetime license holders, must pay the $5 application fee to enter the controlled hunts drawings. The fee is paid only once per person per year regardless of the number of categories entered.

 Applications are offered online through a secure process that only accepts applications once they have been filed correctly, and a print-out confirmation page is available for sportsmen to document their submitted application.

 Log on to to complete an application for the Controlled Hunts program.  My son and I have a sequester rain-check for the turkey hunt at the McAlester Ammunition Depot.

 Put in for these $5 application controlled hunts and take a chance on making a memory that will last a lifetime.

John Kilgore’s outdoor column runs Fridays in the Phoenix. You may contact him with news or other information at  (918) 348-9431 or at