The governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, is making headlines for taking a black bear during this year’s bowhunting season. Gov. Stitt took the bear in Oklahoma’s McCurtain County on the opening day of bear season.
Gov. Stitt posed with his guide Tom Cartwright and the bear he took this year, which was shared by J.D. Strong, the director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC).
Bowhunting bear is popular since it takes place earlier in the season and the bears respond to bait better before oak trees drop their acorns, explains the Oklahoman.
Oklahoma has only allowed taking bear since 2009 in just four counties. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation expanded the hunting area to include 12 counties in 2019 as the bear population continues to grow.
Hunters average about 50 bears a year in Oklahoma. The bear population is estimated at around 1,500 to 2,000 animals. They set a record in 2018 for taking 85 bears in one season. The largest bear on record weighed 638 pounds.
After bow season starts muzzle-loader season. Last year bowhunters took 57 bears during archery season while muzzle-loaders took just four, for a total of 61. Since 2009 hunters have taken a total of 528 bears.
ODWC Director Strong is spearheading new ways to get people excited for wildlife conservation and the great outdoors. He recently started the “Fostering Outdoor Oklahoma Families” event where 30 foster families joined police, firefighters, and wildlife management officials for a day of fishing and camping.
“There’s nothing more rewarding in life than sharing the joys of fishing with those who need more joy in their lives,” said Strong. “This event was the launch of what we hope to spread statewide — teaching kids in foster care and their families how to reap the many rewards of getting outdoors to fish. We were truly blessed by the end of the evening.”
For more information about hunting, fishing, and wildlife conservation in Oklahoma visit the ODWC website.