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Bad News for Oklahoma's Bears--corrupt senator overrides even state fish & game board science for personal vendetta

From Brenden Garrett

Byron,

What updates do you have on the situation in the Oklahoma legislature? Did the whole bill already completely pass through, even after review by the governor? What of the protections for mothers with cubs? What can be done to further protest this if it is too late to take any further legislative action?


Reply from Byron Bright

They passed it through the Senate in record time as an emergency. The Bill SB450 declares an emergency situation. From the supervisor of SE Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Joe Hemphill Jr. " Bears have been very little trouble in the 18 years we've been keeping records with the worse time taking place in 2001" There has been only 1 case of depredation on livestock where a She Bear took a pig. There have been no apiaries, no other livestock, no conflicts with humans, no fowl and only 10% of complaint calls required officials to intervene. Most instances were bird feeders and pet food left out overnight. There is NO emergency. They will be holding the hunt in October by quota. As we know, in NJ when after forty years they began a bear hunt and expected only to allow 20 bears to be killed, over 300 were killed by the end of the week. Officially, according to Dr. David Leslie of the Unit Leader of the Oklahoma Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, in a letter to Joe Hemphill Jr. Dr. Leslie quotes "There are about 450 bears in the study area" " outside of the research area < 100" This is from official documentation! Sen. Kenneth Corn cited to AP "There are between 700 and 800 black bears in Oklahoma" he further states "they are becoming a problem" he further states, "I have a neighbor with a cabin in the woods which gets broken into all of the time" Obviously a personal vendetta. It sickens me. Sorry for the slow response but my internet has been down for over a week.

I'm still fighting, but, beware, Texas will immediately follow Oklahoma's legislation.

I will be appearing in Texas three times, twice near Tyler and finally in October at Wichita Falls for the Walk out of Darkness event.

Oh, I did want to mention I was able to mobilize several people to attend the hearings on the hunting of bears by the ODWC at meetings across Oklahoma. We were able to get them to remove the hunting of Mothers with cubs or of hunting cubs. We were not able to keep them from allowing bear baiting. No dog running though, that's some help and also no baiting on public lands however, most hunting taking place in OK takes place on private land. They have a very long season beginning during bow seasons. Penn. stopped the hunting using primitive arms because too many hunters were getting hurt by the irate bear which was shot. In any case, I have to discredit the Senator because he cited inaccurate data. I will call him out on it.


Reply from Brenden Garrett

Thank you, Byron, for all the dedication you have to this issue... You're a one man legislation machine! Whole organizations havn't been able to do what you've helped bring about on your own... I wish we could get a big enough group of people together in these two states to be there for the bears here... they're so few people don't even realize we have bears and here they go already wanting to shoot the tiny fragment of a population away all over again... and you're probably right that Texas will be doing it next... We've got to be ready for it...


Response by Doris

Hello, all,

For what it's worth, the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife predicted in February, 2003 that 375-750 bears would be killed in the December, 2003 hunt. In March, 2003 they predicted that between 500 and 750 bears would be killed in the December, 2003 hunt. When only 328 bears were killed and it turned out the bear population was about half of what they expected, the Division and Fish & Wildlife claimed that their prediction was that only 272-408 bears would be killed - an outright lie. If anyone wants documentation, I can send that as a pdf.

Is anyone planning to challenge the OK hunt legally? In NJ, calling a situation an "emergency" will allow an agency to skip procedures required by the state Administrative Procedures Act, so I wonder if the law in OK is similar and that's why they're doing it that way.

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