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Thread: Here is an update on the possible Bear hunting in Oklahoma

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    Here is an update on the possible Bear hunting in Oklahoma

    By Tim Talley
    Associated Press Writer
    Legislation to create a special license for hunting black bears in Oklahoma will not be heard in the state House over concerns about conservation of the animals, which were almost extinct from the state a century ago, the measure's author said Tuesday.


    "Smokey and Yogi are safe for one more year, said the measure's author, Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs.

    Dorman's bill would have created a new licensing procedure within the Department of Wildlife Conservation for hunting black bears.


    Population rebounded
    Conservation officials have said their numbers have rebounded in southeastern Oklahoma and they are becoming a nuisance in some areas.
    But Dorman said re-examination of the black bear population indicates there are not enough in the state to sustain an annual hunt.

    Researchers at Oklahoma State University estimate there are between 300 and 500 bears in the state.

    "They felt that the population needed to be higher, Dorman said. He said it will be at least a year before the proposal is reconsidered.

    Wildlife officials had proposed a limited bear hunt in which only 15 or 20 of the animals would be taken each year. Under the legislation, a special black bear hunting permit would cost $100 for Oklahoma residents and $500 for nonresidents.

    Dorman said the proposal would have provided a way for the state's wildlife agency to raise additional revenue.

    "With the many free permits that they give out, they needed a way to generate more revenue, Dorman said.

    Last year, Oklahoma lawmakers authorized hunting seasons for black bears, mountain lions and river otters, but a black bear hunting permit has not yet been established in the state.

    Taking mountain lions is covered under standard hunting licenses, and taking river otters is permitted under state trapping licenses.

    Officials say it would take at least one year after a black bear hunting license is authorized in Oklahoma before a hunt is conducted.

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    Some more input

    By Ed Godfrey
    Outdoors Editor
    HB 3077, which would have created a special bear-hunting license, is dead.
    The author of the bill, Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, was quoted by The Associated Press last week that researchers at Oklahoma State University believed there were not enough bears in the state to sustain a hunt.


    However, David Leslie, the leader of the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at OSU, which is conducting the bear research, told The Oklahoman just the opposite.

    "I personally believe there are enough bears in Oklahoma to sustain a harvest, Leslie said Friday.

    Leslie said there are between 451 and 457 bears in the research area alone in the Ouachita National Forest.

    "There are very likely more outside of our study area, he said.

    Dorman said he was misquoted in the AP story. He told The Oklahoman Friday the bill was killed because the floor leader had a constituent contact him, saying the bear population wasn't large enough to support a hunt, so he wouldn't put it on the calendar.

    "I told him I would have (the) Wildlife (Department) and other pro-hunting groups call in, but he said he wouldn't budge, Dorman said. "I'm requesting a study this summer to show we have enough for a controlled hunt.

    State wildlife officials sought to create a limited bear-hunting season by the fall of 2009 where no more than 20 bears could be killed.


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