Oklahoma Lawmaker Pushing for Black Vulture Take Limit Increase
KOKH-OKC - November 16, 2022 6:33 am
Oklahoma Senator Blake "Cowboy" Stephens
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Sen. Blake “Cowboy” Stephens is urging farmers and ranchers to report the number of black vultures killed on their property.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects the birds, meaning Oklahomans can only take up to five birds a year with a sub-permit. Stephens said that’s a growing problem since those limits are no match for a rapidly growing black vulture population.
“Our goal is to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to amend the limits in place for black vulture mitigation,” Stephens said. “For this to be possible, producers must first submit an online request for a permit and then accurately report the number of birds they’ve killed as quickly as possible to justify the need for increased takes per year. I ask that producers are accurate in their reporting, as this will help us know exactly what we are up against and allow us to put programs in place to combat this growing problem.”
Stephens held an interim study last month to look at the effects of predatory birds, the black vulture in particular. He said black vultures kill and injure livestock, especially calves and vulnerable mothers. They also destroy property and their highly acidic feces damage farm equipment.
“The experts who shared statistics with us during the interim study painted a pretty good picture of the damages these predatory birds are causing on Oklahoma farms and ranches,” Stephens said. “But what truly shows the seriousness of this situation are the horrible stories we are hearing from producers across the state. Once again, I encourage you to keep an accurate record of black vulture mortalities so the records and data can be used to show that we need to introduce methods like trapping and raise the take limit.”
Depredation permits can be obtained through the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.