February 12, 2014
Bad Bill: Oklahoma's 12-Point Antler Restriction Causes Hunters to Freak Out
By Phil Bourjaily
Let a 10-pointer walk? That would have been the law if an incorrectly worded bill had passed the Oklahoma Legislature.
Representative Colby Schwartz of Yukon, Okla., a deer hunter himself, introduced legislation that would have limited adult Oklahoma hunters to only taking deer with more than six antler points. As his bill was written, however, the proposed antler restriction would have been six points on a side.
Angry deer hunters made their feelings abundantly clear with calls and e-mails. Some seemed to believe the proposal was a back-door measure to curtail hunting.
"My e-mail is a little out of control," said Caitlin Harwell, Schwartz's legislative assistant. "We are by no means trying to take away the sport of hunting and keep people from hunting in any way."
Harwell, also a hunter, put the blame on the representative's legal staff. "Our staff lawyers are not avid deer hunters," she said. "It was never meant to be written as 6-points on each side."
The bill will be rewritten to correct the language, but Representative Schwartz will not request that his bill be heard.
"We did it to start a conversation about deer management," said Harwell. "It has done that."