Hunting on the Wichitas

Whether you are a first-time hunter or a seasoned sportsman or woman, Wichita Mountains offers ample opportunities to participate in our nation's rich hunting heritage.


Public hunts have been offered on the refuge since 1969 with the introduction of rifle hunting for Rocky Mountain elk. In 1984, rifle hunting expanded to include white-tailed deer. While the white-tailed deer herd is native to the area, the elk herd started with introductions in 1911-1912 when Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) were reintroduced from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to replace native herds of Merriam’s elk (Cervus canadensis merriami) which were indiscriminately hunted into extinction. Today, careful management ensures their survival, controls their numbers, and allows a portion to be harvested. This rich tradition of wildlife-dependent recreation continues annually and occurs throughout the refuge with the exception of areas outside the boundary fence (974 acres), interior working pastures (1,764 acres), and areas with high public use, primarily around buildings, roads, public use facilities, and administrative facilities (2,831 acres).

Public use is important to the mission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; however the National Wildlife Refuge System was established to protect ecosystems and the plants and animals contained within refuge boundaries. Plants and animals are protected from hunting unless a specific refuge hunting season allows for the take of animals. Currently, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge partners with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. (ODWC) to offer controlled elk, deer, youth turkey, and spring turkey hunts, while also offering open season on waterfowl (duck, goose, merganser, and coot) in certain portions of the refuge according to refuge specific regulations. Please note: portions of the refuge are open to other uses. It is your responsibility to know the hunting seasons, regulations, boundaries, and open areas. Refuge boundaries are marked with white signs with blue lettering. Further information about hunting on the refuge is available on the Hunt Tearsheet.

How to apply for the controlled hunts 

Buy your hunting or fishing license online  

For more information, check out the Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges