Craig Day, News On 6
OOLOGAH LAKE -- At the Tacora Mart near Oologah Lake, the store usually caters to fishermen, but this time of year, deer hunters bring in the bucks.
"Deer season brings in that customer flow for us," said Amit Patel.
Store owner Amit Patel says business will pick up about 15 percent when rifle season starts.
"We get our deer hunters, they'll come in and buy their tags in the morning, they'll buy breakfast," Patel said. "They'll go to their deer stands, after they get their deer, they'll come back and get something for lunch. It keeps a steady flow of traffic going."
Customer Sam Huckleby is getting his license and tags and looks forward to getting out in the woods.
"They can use it, it helps them get through," he said. "A lot of people don't realize it, but they do, there's a lot of folks out there that still hunt for the meat and I'm one of those guys."
Deer hunters spend a lot of money.
"I probably spent at least a thousand," said Ryan Williams.
The state wildlife department estimates hunting and fishing in Oklahoma generates $696 million each year.
Not only is deer hunting good for Oklahoma's economy, it's also important for a couple of other reasons. By controlling the deer population, it makes for healthier deer, because the animals have to compete with each other for food, also it reduces the risk of car-deer collisions.
State Farm estimates there are more than a million deer-car collisions nationwide each year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says 75 percent of fatal animal-car crashes involve deer.
"Deer are one of the most dangerous animals they claim for auto accidents," Williams said.
Back at the store, they hope for a safe season as they stock shelves and look forward to a lot of successful outings.
"Big bucks bring in the big bucks," Patel said.
Last year, 110,000 deer were harvested in Oklahoma. The county with the most deer killed was Osage County, followed by Cherokee County.