Hunting, Fishing & Camping in the Oklahoma Outdoors

Dave Harrell of Edmond, Oklahoma, was boating in Mill Creek at Eufaula Lake last May, hoping to reel in a few catfish. Instead, he and his friend Audey Clark got the surprise of a lifetime when they reeled in a 100-pound alligator snapping turtle. The photo of the rare beast, also known as a loggerhead, went viral after Harrell posted it on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Facebook page. Michael Bergin of the ODWC told GrindTV that people shouldn't handle the dinosaur-looking creatures, as Harrell did, because of their dangerously powerful jaws.

The Sooner State isn't necessary known for its turtles. But wild boar hunting, bass fishing and hiking are enjoyed throughout the year. There's always something to do outdoors in Oklahoma, no matter what season it is.


Spring wild turkey season is the first game-specific hunt of the year. It spans from April 6 to May 6 across the entire state except for the Southeast region. That area has a shorter season, from April 20 to May 6.

Petersen's Bowhunting magazine named Oklahoma the number one state for crossbow hunting in 2013, and for good reason. The archery season last 14 weeks, from Oct. 1 to Jan. 15. Tags are cheap and can be purchased the same day you venture out into the woods. Archery season includes whitetail deer, bears, wild hogs and turkeys.

Muzzleloader and gun seasons span only two weeks for most game, which is why many hunters have added crossbows to their arsenals. Crossbow hunting provides more flexibility in scheduling and adds an entirely different element to the sport for those who are new to archery.


A fishing license costs only $25 per year for most residents. You can also purchase a five-year license for $88. Whichever route you choose, there is no shortage of prime fishing locations throughout the state.

Oklahoma has 34 large lakes, most of which are in the Northeast region. Lake Watonga, Lake Carl Etling and the Lower Illinois River are the best rainbow trout holes. Crappie are abundant in Lake Eufaula, particularly in the winter time. Black bass can be found pretty much everywhere except the western Panhandle of the state. Check out this map of where to fish statewide.

Trout are artificially stocked in many of the state's lakes. You can sign up to receive email updates on the best times to go fishing in your area.

Hiking and Camping

There are 35 state parks and 300 days of sunshine in Oklahoma, according to TravelOK.com. That combination makes for great hiking and camping opportunities for both beginners and experienced outdoor types.

J.T. Nickel Preserve, near the town of Tahlequah, is the best bet for remote hiking. Its 17,000 acres of winding hollows and wooded canyons are operated and protected by the Nature Conservancy. It's the Ozarks' largest private protected area. Roman Nose State Park and Mount Baldy are also very popular.

Camping trips should be reserved for the spring and fall. The summer months are hot and humid, making for uncomfortable nights in a tent. TravelOK lists all state parks and the amenities they offer. Whether you're RV camping or taking the ATVs out, there are plenty of destinations to choose from.

As always, make certain you leave the area the way it was before you got there and put fires out completely.



Your Name:
Your Comment:
Please enter the text from the image in the box below: