MOORE — The Oklahoma State University Center for Innovation and Economic Development will offer its fifth whitetail deer farming certification course. The course is a certification program on whitetail deer farming.
“This will be an excellent opportunity for potential deer breeders or those who already own deer and want to refresh their knowledge,” said Heath Herje of Oklahoma State University Extension in Cleveland County. Raising whitetails is one of the fastest growing industries in rural America.
The course will be March 22, 23 and 24 in Stillwater. There will be subsequent courses offered during the summer of 2012. Several of the instructors are faculty of Oklahoma State University in the Department of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
“Deer hunters and those interested in raising deer can begin planning their own breeding operation,” said Herje.
Deer hunting is a rich tradition in Oklahoma and many are showing interest in not only managing deer herds, but also raising deer. Not only is deer farming more popular in Oklahoma, the state’s deer hunting regulations also have improved the last few years. Doe harvest has become more common as people now realize the importance of passing young bucks and taking does instead. A reduction in the liberal 3-buck harvest limit down to two has also helped to somewhat improve the state’s buck age structure in certain areas.
“Many residents are beginning to hunt states like Kansas as a result of their conservative deer hunting regulations which produce mature, large-antlered bucks. These include a December rifle season and a 1-buck limit. However, Oklahoma has just as much potential as Kansas. It is simply up to Oklahoma hunters and regulations to decide when we will reach that potential,” Herje said.
Many Oklahoma landowners have tried to improve buck age structure for years, but some have struggled to manage under these quality guidelines. Now a few are beginning to raise deer as a hobby or business.
Topics will include economics, equipment, regulations, deer handling, breeding, nutrition, fawn care and many more. Those interested may take individual classes or the entire program.
Cost for the entire program is $250 which includes registration, all printed curriculum and meals. Graduates will receive access to “Members-Only” areas of the website along with an OSU Certified Whitetail Deer Farm sign and certificate.
“If you’re thinking about getting into the deer industry, the course can help you make an informed decision if the business is right for you before making a large investment in time, energy, effort and money,” Herje said.
Further information about the course should be directed to Lyndee Strader at 744-9100 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Enrollment forms can be found on the OSU Cleveland County website at oces.okstate.edu/cleveland with an enrollment deadline of March 9.