FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Jan. 29, 2021) -- Last week we took a look at the elk harvest over the last 40 years.Before we look at this year’s deer harvest as well as a historical look I want to look at some of the harvest regulations that are in place on Fort Sill.We will examine why they were made and then next week see if those regulations have accomplished their goals by looking at the harvest numbers.Harvest regsOne that most folks notice first concerns 1.5-year-old bucks.First, you need to realize that although almost everyone wants to shoot a trophy buck, trophy means different things to different folks.To many of our young Soldiers, an Oklahoma 1.5-year-old buck with 8 points is a trophy.To others it has to score over 150 Boone and Crocket points to be a trophy.So, to meet the needs of both crowds, Fort Sill hunters are allowed to take one 1.5-year-old buck, but then they can’t take any more bucks that year.If they are willing to pass on 1.5-year-old bucks and take a buck 2.5 years old or older first and two does, they can take a second buck.This reduces the kill of young bucks and helps Fort Sill to produce some big bucks — the ones I call wall hangers.It also ensures  a high enough harvest to give a lot of folks an opportunity to hunt and take home some venison and hunting stories.Split seasonIn 2013, it was realized that because of harvest concerns our muzzleloader season needed to be reduced from the 14-day season.Rather than cutting days available to hunt, Fort Sill changed it to a split season of seven days of primitive muzzleloaders and seven days of more modern muzzleloaders.Doing this still provides plenty of hunting opportunities and time afield while controlling the deer harvest.In 2014 there were several concerns brought through the Fish and Wildlife Council about seasons ending early.Even though there were high numbers of deer being taken, the quotas were being hit early and closing seasons. Since the population was being held at a higher level, it was easier to harvest a deer.One answer was to reduce the population down and make it harder to harvest a deer.While it’s certainly feasible to do that, it’s an answer no one wants to see.Instead, the council and wildlife biologist worked together and came up with some changes that have made a big difference since their implementation in 2015.ChangesThe first change was moving the opening of deer archery until after the end of elk archery season.There isn’t any double dipping by hunting deer and elk at the same time, but there is still an archery season open for folks to hunt all of October.Archery slots were reduced in some areas especially during the muzzleloader seasons.There are plenty of places to hunt, but archers have to spread out and hunt a wider range of areas.Changing several areas to archery only since that time has really allowed this to work while still keeping seasons open.This was also the time when the opening weekend of gun season was moved back to the last weekend of November in an effort to not hunt during the middle of the rut.This not only slows the general harvest, but spreads the areas of buck harvest.Another change at that time concerned the innovations in in-line muzzleloaders making them accurate at extremely long range which was affecting the harvest in our shotgun only areas.That is why in-lines aren’t allowed in shotgun areas. In-lines can still be used, but only in rifle areas.ProhibitionsThere were several prohibitions put in place about that time also.The biggest of these stated trail cameras can’t be used on Fort Sill. Electronic calls also cannot be used for deer hunting.To further reduce the impact of new technologies on hunting, unmanned aerial vehicles were prohibited, too.Now, to answer if these regulations accomplish their goal, they did to some degree.This past season you could hunt somewhere on Fort Sill all the way to the end of all established seasons.Not only that but there was somewhere opened to either-sex hunting during all of that season.MeetingsIn general, hunters are spending more time on the Wild Side hunting Fort Sill’s wonderful white-tailed deer.For those interested in learning more about what is going on with Fort Sill’s natural resources, although the monthly Fish and Wildlife Council meetings have been discontinued, they have been replaced with quarterly meetings put on at the Natural Resources classroom.