Although the species is not actively managed in the state, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation does collect and archive mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) annual harvest data through mandatory hunter self-reporting of killed deer. We analyzed harvest records in an attempt to update the distribution and abundance of mule deer in the state and to infer population trends for years 2009–2016. In total, we recorded 1,585 mule deer over this time, and abundance of mule deer harvests consistently followed a northwest-to-southeast gradient, with the highest abundance occurring in the Oklahoma Panhandle. However, mule deer abundance in the state is low (<1 individual/km2). Results here suggest Oklahoma's mule deer population is stable, especially in the panhandle. In addition, we detected a significant, although weak, correlation with precipitation, with harvests decreasing with decreased precipitation.
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Vol. 63 • No. 2