My dear friend, Byron T Bear, is an awesome bear. He not only delightfully entertains and makes people happy at events, he is a bear conservationist, first and foremost.
He is concerned and so am I. I have learned a lot about bears from my dear friend. Did you know that bears eat primarily bugs? *nods* We have more than our fair share of bugs in this state, let me tell you. And the idea of allowing people to shoot aroujnd a feeding station is just repugnant. Is that hunting? No, it's like shooting fish in a barrel! Disgusting.
The state government is about to allow a bear hunt, and they are conducting hearings with this item on the agenda. They seem to be misrepresenting the statistics in order to encourage bear hunting. So ignorant folk come to the meetings and stand up and say, "It's a good idea to shoot bears." No. Bears aid the environment in multiple ways...please read on.( It's a BEAR! )
Quoting Byron again: "With a small population of bear, Oklahoma shouldn't even yet consider a hunt. I heard stated that over 300 instances of predation and then pointed out that those instances occurred over the entire 18 years of records, and the official had to fess up that, yes, there are only a few cases a year. Those are generally bears getting into pet food, there's been not a single chicken, not a single apiary which has been gotten by bears in Oklahoma in 18 years. The fact is there has been little predation, only one case of serious predation where a hog was killed and the bears fates were death by Wildlife official.
I spoke but I was only one voice and required to state I was from a bear conservation group, after my voice was four other voices saying 'its a good thing, lets shoot the bears' seriously, that is what was said verbatim. So, now it must go before legislation, this is where it will take much more effort to influence the legislators that it is in the best interest of the state to proceed very carefully when considering bear as a game animal.
They will still take input until the 16th and have a way to do that online on the oklahomawildlifedepartment website. Please, bears help the ecosystem, promote new growth, get rid of insect infestations, spread seeds of fruit bearing plants. Make one of the meetings, they will only last about an hour. If a loud voice isn't heard, bears will likely be decimated in the state and it can take ten years to recover from the manners they wish to conduct this hunt in.
They are going to allow you to have baiting stations, let you sit and choose among the bears who will be within a few yards of the hunter trying to eat the bait and the hunters can shoot just like shooting fish in a barrel, a 'Turkey Shoot' . I've said my part but there were others who were just saying 'a good idea, let's hunt the bears'"
SO, here's what you need to do: call the ODWC. The number is (405) 521-3852 for the wildlife controlled hunt office. Beginning Monday and until the 16th they will take public input over the phone. Ask that they define a bear legal for hunting over 75 pounds. Ask that they take away the feeding stations ten days before a hunt. Ask them why they are allowing bear hunting in the first place....
[Edit: if you want to go read about it on his blog, he's here on LJ as byron_bear