Image via WikipediaBlack bear season in Oklahoma is a month long season running from October 1st through the 31st. The season ends either when time runs out or 20 bear are harvested. Last year time ran out with only 19 bear being harvested. However, this year something new was thrown in the mix.
In years past, only hunters over the age of sixty or hunters with physical disabilities were allowed to hunt with a crossbow. This year however, anyone can hunt with a crossbow.
Standing in line at the Bass Pro two Saturday's ago, there were three people ahead of me and all three had a crossbow to purchase. That sight told me there would be a lot of new faces or hunters in the woods this hunting season.
Black bear season 2010 opened October 1st... and closed October 1st. Not only was the 20 bear limit reached, it was exceeded by eleven bear being taken for a total of 31 on opening day. Wildlife officials report at least 20 of the harvested bear were taken by crossbows.
I'm quite sure there are more than a few unhappy or disillusioned Black bear hunters this morning, and how could we not blame them. Some of these hunters put in a lot of effort, and time in the woods in hopes of getting what should be a unique hunting experience in Oklahoma. The new crossbow allowance certainly gives a big advantage in the hunt.
The question now becomes whether wildlife officials are going to have to look at the season differently? Another question becomes will they look at the crossbow allowance for everyone with a discerning eye?
The only thing I can liken Black bear hunting in Oklahoma too, when comparing it with fishing, is having the opportunity to fish a stretch of trophy trout water. Do we not want such an opportunity to be challenging as it can be? Shouldn't that stretch of water have special regulations to insure it is challenging?
Does everyone in hunting circles getting to use crossbows, cut short the experience of hunting and the thrill of the hunt? I think many will argue yes, that indeed it does.
It will interesting to see the reaction and decision of wildlife management regarding Black bear season and the use of the crossbow by everyone. Hopefully, a new plan that will be more equitable to both hunter and animal will come forth from this one day season of 2010.
I say hopefully, because if it doesn't it may be more than we can bear.