The rules governing both the act of hunting rattlesnakes in Oklahoma, as well as participating in the hunting competition during the derby, is now available. Now may be the time for you to refresh both Oklahoma’s requirements and the Derby’s requirements. Neither set of rules are any different than last year. However, we would like to take the time to refresh everyone on some of the basics.
First, hunting rattlesnakes requires a hunting license. There are exemptions to this licensing requirement. However, if you do not fit into a particular exemption, then you MUST have a license. During the hunt, participants may apply for a 5-day rattlesnake permit. Such permit foregoes the need to have a hunting license. However, such license will only help you if you are hunting during the hunt. It is illegal to sell rattlesnakes if you do not have a license.
Second, gassing dens or introducing other toxic substances into a den for the sole purpose of catching rattlesnakes is strictly prohibited. It is ILLEGAL.
Third, remember to get landowner permission prior to hunting on their land. Failure to get permission may expose you to criminal and civil liabilities. In addition, if you do have the landowner’s permission, leave the property as you found it. Do not leave trash or debris, destroy supplements, harass cattle, etc. Such acts can result in the landowner withdrawing his/her permission.
Have a safe and happy hunting experience. Hopefully, you will share our catch at this year’s event.
The Rattlesnake Derby is a little over a month a way. The Association is making last-second preparations. Snake hunters are hauling in their catch. Vendors are taking inventory and stocking up for the show. Its an exciting time around Mangum! All you vendors out there still interested, continue to send us your comments and we will do our best in relaying all the necessary information.
The Event Schedule page has been updated to reflect the most current times of this year’s festivities. The schedule is similar to last year. In addition times and events may change without prior notice.
We hope to see you soon!
Today marks the official start to Oklahoma’s rattlesnake hunting season. The season applies to prairie rattlesnakes, western diamondback rattlesnakes, timber rattlesnakes, and massasaugas. There is no size restrictions or daily bag limits. So, hunters can catch as many as they can carry.
To legally hunt rattlesnakes, each hunter must have a valid resident or nonresident hunting license, unless otherwise exempt. Exemptions to the licensing requirement can be found here. In addition to the licensing requirement, no hunter shall introduce any toxic substance, including gasoline, into or around dens for the purpose of taking rattlesnakes. Such method of harvest is ILLEGAL. In addition, any rattlesnake that is taken illegally cannot legally be sold at an organized hunt. Doing so is a violation of state law.
I encourage everyone who hasn’t traveled into the wild to hunt rattlesnakes to try it just once. Hunting rattlesnakes is a great way to walk off your winter gut, enjoy nature, and get your adrenaline going. As my cousin once said, “snake hunting is [his] bungee jump.” So, take a leap, expand your horizons, and do something that will earn you some bragging rights among your friends.
For more information on state laws related to snake hunting, please visit the Oklahoma Wildlife Department’s website.