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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Based on research done by the Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the black bear population in Oklahoma is estimated at a minimum of 450 with some biolgists thinking that as many as 700 Bruins are wandering the southeastern sector of the state.......Over the past two years, Oklahoma limited Bears killed to 32 annually.........This season, there will be an unlimited quota for archery hunters over the first 21 days of October with muzzleloaders able to kill another 20 Bears Oct 27-November 4................Should we not have a better of idea of truly how many Bruins are in Oklahoma before an UNLIMITED archery hunt is allowed?..............And since when is unlimited killing a viable mgmt choice when it comes to carnivore mgmt?............Do states allow unlimited deer killing-----NO,,,,,,,,,,,,,,so why unlimited Bear killing (and hunters can use baiting no less to lure bears into range)in a State that until recently had no Bears at all

  Black bear hunting in southeast Oklahoma should draw some added interest this year as the archery season opens Oct. 1-21 for the first time without a season quota.

The past two years the season, limited to a 20-bear quota in Latimer, LaFlore, McCurtain and Pushmataha counties, lasted no more than 48 hours. Hunters still are limited to the four-county area but have the full 21 days of archery season to take a bear. A muzzleloader season opens Oct. 27-Nov. 4 with a 20-bear quota regardless of what happens in the archery season.

It will be interesting to see what the regulation change does to the hunt. Will a lot more bears be killed? Will hunters simply have the opportunity to be more selective and kill more large male bears instead of worrying about killing the first bear they see for fear the season will be closed before they have a chance to see another bear? With the guarantee of a full season will more hunters buy tags this year? Time will tell.

As the bears proved the first year the season opened, the number killed is more likely to depend on acorn and berry crops than what the regulations allow hunters to do. In 2009 hunters killed 19 bears and the season was open through archery season and into muzzleloader season and a 20th bear never was killed.
That was a year of extraordinary acorn production and batches of wild berries that ripened just in time for the season opener. Bears will always prefer natural food sources. In 2009, many hunters said they had bears hitting their bait stations prior to the season and they all disappeared just before Oct. 1.

The weather changed and natural food sources were not so available the next two years. In 2010, the state sold 177 black bear hunting licenses and the season closed with 32 bears killed on the first day. In 2011 hunters killed 31 and the season only lasted 48 hours with close to 190 tags sold.

The vast majority of bears are killed over bait, which is allowed only on private lands.

Wildlife biologist Joe Hemphill, southeast regional supervisor with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, said Southeast Oklahoma has a good acorn crop this year and hunters have told him the nuts are starting to fall. So far this year he's hearing a mixed bag from hunters who have bait stations established for bears.

"I've heard from guys who have bears already on bait and I've heard from guys who've had bait out for three or four weeks and haven't seen a bear," he said.

Biologists introduced the first season and 20-bear quota with the idea that it was extremely conservative. The kill rate and the lack of previously tagged "nuisance" bears showing up in the hunting season (only two out of 82 in three years) convinced biologists there are even more bears in the area than previously thought.

The idea that bait can be used and that the season closed quickly the past couple years should not fool anyone into thinking this is an easy hunt.

For anyone outside the four-county area it's going to be pricey. Regulations still require the $101 bear tag be purchased prior to opening day, and anyone who has successfully tended a bait site knows it's going to take several tanks of gas to go tend and refill the bait site - if the bears find it. Sitting on an active bait stand offers no guarantees, either. You might end up sitting for days before you're there at the same time as a bear. What bait does do for an archery hunter, however, is to set up the bear for a good "clean" shot and allow the hunter time to assess the bear to either choose a trophy, identify it as a male or female (which isn't always easy) and also time to make sure cubs are not trailing behind.

Public land hunts will still offer fairly low odds, but the chances are improved with a 21-day season to intercept a bear on a natural food source or on its travel route. It will be interesting to see if more hunters give that option a try this year.

The only other important point coming into this new season is a reminder to read the regulations.

"We're just six days out from the season and most of the phone calls I'm getting are guys asking what the quota is this time," Hemphill said. "They don't even know the season has changed, so if you do anything please encourage people to read the regulations before they go."

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