John Kilgore

John Kilgore

 The arrival of somewhat cooler temperatures is predicted this week coinciding perfectly for the deer muzzleloading season, which opens Oct. 26 and will close Nov. 3.

All hunters need to wear blaze orange clothing for the season. All deer taken during the deer muzzleloader season count toward the hunter’s combined season limit of six deer.

Last year, an estimated 77,618 hunters participated in deer muzzleloader season. When I first started using a black powder firearm, there were about 1,000 to 1,200 hunters statewide.

My, how the times have changed.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation notes that last year (2018) muzzleloader hunters reported a total take of 14,306 deer harvested. Muzzleloading hunters accounted for about 13.7 percent of the state’s total deer harvest last season. T

o broaden “smoke pole” user’s opportunities, hunting season for elk on private lands (must have written landowner permission) and black bears in southeastern Oklahoma also runs Oct. 26 through Nov. 3.

Various zone quotas are in effect for elk, and a state harvest quota of 20 is in effect for bears. It is the hunter’s responsibility to check online to see if the quota has been met.

The rules for the taking of elk and bear are also posted online and in the ODWC regulations guide. Sometimes called “primitive firearms,” the modern inline muzzleloaders of today are far from primitive.

But there are still plenty of outdoorsmen who enjoy the satisfaction of using a traditional flintlock loaded with black powder and a lead ball.

With the invention of inline muzzleloaders by the late Tony Knight back in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s, it certainly turned the heat up on big game.

While modern-day muzzle-loaders using 209 shotgun primers, Pyrodex powder, pellets, and WhiteHots are much more reliable than the flint-locks and black powder used by our forefathers, they are also much more costly.

There is now a Remington model that is built on the 700 action that now boasts an effective range of out to 300 yards.

For me, target practice is one thing but taking a shot at an animal that far away would make me uncomfortable.But, there are people that I know who can do it.

There are a number of in-lines on the market that range from $200 for the basic pack-age to $3,000 and beyond for a custom setup. Whatever you do, there’s no going without a quality scope on your firearm and time spent at the gun range sighting it in.

Going into the rut, I’ve used rattling horns, deer decoys and a grunt tube. Find the does and the bucks won’t be far behind. The usually wary whitetails let down their guard during the rut.

Sometimes, instead of being in a tree at daybreak, try going out around 9 a.m. and hunting until 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. Some people swear they’ve harvested more bucks between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. than at any other time of day.

But, if possible, spend the whole day on stand if you can. With today’s electronics, you have plenty of options to help you pass the time.

In closing, make sure you tell somebody the location you are hunting. If you are using a treestand, wear a properly-fitting safety harness. You owe it to your family and friends.

If cooler temperatures prevail, hunters should have ample opportunities to bring home the venison.

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