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GWD91's picture
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Oklahoma's one day bear season

2009 was Oklahoma's first bear season.  It's open during bow season and blackpowder the limit is 20 and last year 19 were harvested. It took the entire season to get 19. This year it opened the first day of deer bow season and the limit again was set at 20.  It's opened and closed on the same day.  31 bears taken on the first day with archery equipment.  Paper said 20 of the bears were taken with crossbows.

GWD91's picture
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Article from paper

Last year, hunters in southeastern Oklahoma were predicting the state’s first black bear season would open and close on the same day since  the season had to close once 20 bears were killed.

They were so wrong. Only four bears were killed on opening day and just 19 for the entire month-long season. Hunters should have saved their boasting for this year.

On Friday, the opening day of the bear archery season, hunters checked in 31 bears – 25 males and six females. Season over. The largest trophy was a black bear taken in Latimer County, killed by Bob Burgett of Kiowa.

The bear, shot east of Hartshorne, weighed 463 pounds after it was field dressed, said Joe Hemphill, southeast region chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Burgett’s bear easily weighed more than 600 pounds on the hoof, he said.

Several bears weighing more than 300 pounds were taken by bow hunters Friday. Kelsey Weaver, 17, of Poteau became the state’s first female hunter to kill a bear.

Twelve of the 31 bears came from Le Flore County, 12 from Pushmataha County, four from Latimer County and three from McCurtain County, Hemphill said.

The big question is, why did hunters have so much more success this season? Hemphill said the acorn crop wasn’t as plentiful in southeastern Oklahoma this year so more bears were attracted to bait.

“Bait is drawing a lot more bears than we expected it to,” he said.

However, Hemphill thinks the biggest reason for the increase was the use of crossbows, which are legal for all bow hunters for the first time this year.

Before this season, crossbows could only be used by bow hunters with a physical disability and hunters age 60 or older.

At least 20 of the 31 bears checked in Friday to state wildlife officials were killed by hunters using crossbows, Hemphill said.

“I think crossbows made a major difference, just my opinion,” he said.

The fact that the black bear season lasted just one day left some hunters disgruntled and Hemphill said state wildlife officials would be re-examining the regulations for next year.

One possibility is to impose separate bag limits on bears for the archery and muzzleloader seasons to give hunters more opportunities, he said.

“We are definitely going to do something different,” Hemphill said.

Hemphill wasn’t concerned that 11 bears more than the imposed season limit of 20 were killed. In the beginning, state wildlife officials were “very conservative” in deciding that only 20 bears could be taken by hunters, he said.

Liberalizing the bag limit would not harm the black bear population, which studies show is continuing to grow in southeast Oklahoma, he said.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Man, you'd have to do some

Man, you'd have to do some serious scouting ahead of time if you had only one day to take him......

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I guess you learn something

I guess you learn something new every day. I didnt even know OK had bears. and to fill quota in one day, thats pretty darn amazing. what kinda population do you have there?

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It seems like I read last

It seems like I read last year that the estimated population was between 800 and 1000 bears. This could be wrong.

The reason the limit was reached so quickly has more to do with crossbows than it does the number of bears. Crossbows legal for the entire archery season ? What a freaking joke.

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confused

I'm just wondering how crossbows being legal for bear harvest has to do with the number of bears harvested? I was just wondering cause during our season here you can hutn with any legal methodand it doesnt seem to affect the number of bears taken. I have never used a crossbow but from what people argue with me is that the effective range with a compound bow and a crossbow are pretty much the same. So again I'm confused on how a crossbow had anything to do with the outcome unless it increased th amount of hunters. Dont get me wrong i do not agree with crossbows being used during archery season unless for medical reasons. so I'm with you on that. just dont understand how it affected the season. I bet it was a perfect storm and will never be done again.

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Wow... that is a pretty darn

Wow... that is a pretty darn impressive feat. Yes, having a quota of only twenty I can see it not taking long but that is pretty impressive. Just goes to show that there is probably a healthy enough of a population to hunt them more readily. I don't really know this but it seems like there must be some pretty good bear numbers for this kind of a one day harvest. What part of the state did most of the bears come out of? Or are the bears equally distributed across the whole state? Out here in Colorado, about sixty percent of our bears are actually some kind of color phase other than black. We have a ton of chocolate bears. Were most of your guy's harvest black phase or did you have a couple color phase bears thrown in? Also, sounds like there were some pretty big bears coming out of there!

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There are five counties open

There are five counties open in southeastern OK.  I only heard of one color phase bear taken.

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