The bear season is now official.
Gov. Brad Henry last week signed HB 1464, legalizing Oklahoma’s first black bear hunting season.
State wildlife commissioners had alreadly voted 5-2 to approve bear hunting contingent upon the bill becoming law.
Hunting will be archery and muzzleloader only. Hunting will be allowed in four counties: Le Flore, Pushmataha, Latimer and McCurtain.
The archery bear season will open Oct. 1. Only 20 bears can be harvested.
If bow hunters hadn’t killed 20 by the time the deer muzzleloader season opens, then muzzleloader hunters also could hunt bears.
The bear hunting license will be $100 for residents and $500 for non-residents…
Paddlefishing should start to slow
The paddlefish runs are winding down in eastern Oklahoma.
Already this year, more fish have been checked in at the state Wildlife Department’s fish cleaning station at Twin Bridges State Park on Grand Lake than all of last year.
Through the end of last week, more than 5,000 paddlefish had been processed at the station, where state wildlife officials are cleaning fish for free and packaging the meat in exchange for getting the eggs from female paddlefish to make caviar.
Last year, approximately 4,200 fish were cleaned at the station so the state wildlife officials are well ahead of last year’s pace, which resulted in $1.5 million in caviar sales.
But they don’t expect to make as much money this year on caviar sales even with more production. Prices for spoonbill caviar are down this year.
The caviar program has been a hit, but I wonder if spoonbills are being overharvested as the result?
New largemouth lake record
Sardis Lake has a new largemouth bass record. Charles Carter of Ada landed an 11.2-pound lunker that is the newest member of Oklahoma’s lake records program. The fish was caught April 14 on Cigar Island.