Big Bears/Celebration Begins?: September 29th, 2014

By BHM Publisher, Clay Newcomb   

   The opening of the Arkansas and Oklahoma bear season is less than two days away. People don’t realize the drama that an Arkie/Okie bear hunter goes through during the approaching days before season. In the fall, these bears can be real shysters and will leave you without a day’s warning. During this time we become like paranoid schoolgirls, scrutinizing every trail camera picture, trying to read the body language of bruins at our baits….you know, 90% of communication is non-verbal. “OH! I can see it in eyes! He’s gunna stay.”

Oklahoma bears

    Bear hunters seem to be a terribly optimist lot. Often our only satisfaction comes during the weeks of high hopes before season. That’s why we play it up so much before hand….because there’s a good chance we won’t have an opportunity afterwards. That’s why we’re going to go ahead and revel in the excitement of the moment – WE’VE STILL GOT BIG BEARS! Sound the trumpets, bring out the celebration supplies and let’s be happy now while we’ve still got a reason.

Oklahoma bear

    I’m speaking hyperbolically (exaggeration to make a point). The majority of the fun of bear hunting over bait is the work and anticipation. It’s hard to truly appreciate bait hunting unless you’ve baited/prepped it yourself. It’s a great situation when sound wildlife management collides with this kind of hunting challenge and excitement. I pity the day that someone openly chides me about hunting bears over bait. It’s challenging, ethical and is an effective wildlife management tool for a selective harvest. If the bear hunters don’t kill the bears, someone else will. Sound wildlife management has never made more sense. Whether it’s hounds, spot-and-stalk or bait, bear hunters are the engine of bear management in North America. We will keep it that way by staying united and supporting the states that are openly being attacked by the anti’s. Maine needs our help and our $$ right now (

Arkansas bear

Our Hunt

    The acorns in the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas and Oklahoma are spotty. Some areas seem to be loaded and some void of acorns. If you are in the areas with acorns, hunting can be tough, however, the regions with spotty acorns are still holding bears. I’m getting some reports (including my own) of bigger bears staying on bait longer than usual. This is good. One of my best baits in Oklahoma is stilling getting new bears. I had a gorilla-of-a-bear show up on September 24th. He’s got double yellow ear tags. This is a unique bait, because we have to traverse ¼ a mile of rough mountain to get to it. We’ll most likely hunt this bait off the ground. As you can see, I don’t have a bait barrel here but am putting the bait under a rock. I’ve also got several other great bears still on bait. Right now we are throwing in all the secret weapons – pork fat, meat scraps, popcorn, donuts, bread. We are also decreasing the time frames between refilling the baits. I was able to bait yesterday and I will go back again tomorrow and bait one more time before the season.

Arkansas bear

   Let the celebration begin. It’s time. Season is upon us and hopefully we’ll be celebrating with blood on our arrows come the evening of October 1st. I’ve got some great friends hunting with me this year and am looking forward to the camaraderie of the hunt. Most of the satisfaction of hunting comes because we share it with other people. Being a human is an awesome thing and one of the primary definers that makes us human is our capacity/need for relationships. We aren’t monkeys, though the biology of our bodies may not be much different. We’ve got the spirit of God breathed in us and this makes all the difference. I am starting my internal dance of celebration because of the upcoming hunt, the bears and the people that will all converge into my life this week. Regardless of the outcome, we will be celebrating. Look for an update next Monday.

color phase bear Arkansas