Bear hunters find opening day success
Bear season may not last long this year.
By 11 a.m. Friday (Oct. 1), the opening day of bear season, bow hunters in southeastern Oklahoma already had checked in 10 black bears to the Wildlife Department. At that pace, the season will be over by Saturday.
Only a total of 20 black bears can be taken by hunters. Once 20 have been killed, the season is closed.
Last year, in Oklahoma’s first black bear season, only four bears were killed on opening day and just 19 for the entire season.
“They are bringing them in right and left,” said Joe Hemphill, southeast wildlife region chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “This time last year it was raining. That made a big difference. We don’t have the acorn crop maybe we had last year too.”
Black bear hunting is allowed in Le Flore, Latimer, Pushmataha and McCurtain counties. Eight bears had been taken in Le Flore County. Hunters have killed one each in McCurtain County and in Pushmataha County.
The first black bear checked in came from Le Flore County and was taken by Jackie Farrar of Cameron.
Bow hunters bag antelope
In the opposite part of the state, Oklahoma bow hunters also found great success during the archery antelope season in the Panhandle.
A total of 61 antelope were taken by hunters this season, almost doubling last year’s total of 32.
This also was the second archery season for antelope in the Panhandle and state wildlife attributed the increased harvest to more hunters in the field.
The bow season for antelope ended last Sunday. Of the 61 antelope, 52 were killed in Cimarron County and nine in Texas County.
Hunters arrowed 49 bucks and 12 does.