It was nearly three years ago that I reported that Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry signed a bill that would allow for bear hunting in Oklahoma. At that time, it was made very clear that even though he was signing this bill there were no immediate plans for a bear hunt.

By golly, he was right. Three years later rules have been laid out for a bear hunt.

?Hunting would be allowed only in Pushmataha, Le Flore, McCurtain and Latimer counties.

?Only archery and muzzleloader hunting would be permitted.

?The archery season would begin Oct. 1 and run through the Friday before deer muzzleloader season, which begins Oct. 25.

?Only 20 bears could be killed. If a total of 20 bears had not been taken by bow hunters, then muzzleloader hunting of bears would be allowed during the deer muzzleloader season: Oct. 25-Nov. 2.

?No cubs or female bears with cubs could be killed. No den hunting would be allowed. No dogs could be used.

?Baiting would be allowed on private land, but not public land.

?A bear hunting license would cost $100 for Oklahoma residents and $500 for non-residents.

I always get in trouble when I begin questioning the methods when new opportunities for hunters have been presented and so here I go again. I’ll do what I always do and say right up front that I welcome all new hunting opportunities no matter what they are. In this case, Oklahoma is offering hunters a chance at hunting black bears and I think that is exciting. But I’m having a difficult time understanding some of the methods chosen.

Above I highlighted one part. 20 bears will be the quota. I don’t have an issue with that. Officials should know how many bears can be taken to meet their management goals. What I don’t understand is why the opportunities where preferential to archery hunters? I might be missing something here, so if I am, please weigh in.

It says 20 bears will be taken total by archery hunting. If 20 bears haven’t been taken at the conclusion of the archery season, the remaining number of tags to be filled will be given to muzzle loader hunters. Why are the other methods being shut out?

I emailed the Oklahoma Division of Wildlife Conservation and as soon as I get an explanation from them, I will share it here.

Tom Remington