Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oklahoma Hunters May Soon be Hunting Bears

Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman
Capitol: (405) 557-7305
Oklahoma Hunters May Soon be Hunting Bears
OKLAHOMA CITY –To keep the bear population from increasing to dangerous amounts in Oklahoma, state Rep. Joe Dorman filed legislation to establish permitting guidelines for the state black bear hunting season.
House Bill 3077, by Dorman, allows the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife (ODW) to sell a special black bear hunting license to be used during a specific time period or when the number of killed bears reaches a certain quota.
"There have been many complaints of these bears tearing into cabins to raid the food," said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. "These bears are large and can easily harm people and destroy property. We need to do what we can to control their population so they are not endangering people either camping or by causing increased wrecks by wandering on to the roads."
Currently, students at Oklahoma State University are researching black bear population numbers to see how many can be taken during the hunting season without causing harm to the species.
"The bear population grew to dangerously low levels in surrounding states, but conservation efforts have led to their repopulation," said Dorman. "Now that the levels have increased to safe amounts, we can allow hunters to assist in the population control."
Dorman serves as the House vice-chair of the Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, a group affiliated with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. This group seeks to educate elected officials on hunting and outdoors activities enjoyed by many wildlife enthusiasts.
A spokesman from the ODW predicted 15 to 20 bears per year will be the average number covered by the new seasonal guidelines. He also said there would be a 1-800 number set up for hunters to call and report their kill so as to not go above that limit.
HB 3077 passed out of the House Sub-Committee on Wildlife on Monday with a unanimous vote.

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