White-tailed Deer

The present day white-tailed deer of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge are from original native stock that survived the early settlement years of exploitation and over-hunting. 

Since 1901, when the area was given protection, the remnant deer population rapidly expanded. In 1922 it was estimated that there were at least 400 deer throughout the present-day refuge and the peak population of 2,987 deer was reached in early 1961. 

Today, the minimum objective population level is 450 head refuge-wide. This level is based upon the available forage for all refuge animals and is a level which will maintain genetic diversity within the herd. Sex ratios are maintained at a minimum 1:3 ratio, or one buck for every three does, which is considered close to the natural ratio. Annual censuses of the herd are conducted in August to determine the current number of deer on the refuge and evaluate herd production for the year.

The refuge conducts an annual white-tailed deer hunt to maintain appropriate numbers within the boundaries of the refuge. Please contact Refuge Headquarters or theOklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for more information on applying for a hunt.