When did bears become a thing in the first place?
Actually I’ve known the bears were back for a few years. We were down in southeast Oklahoma around 10 years ago and all the trails had bear warnings.
These aren’t grizzly bears, they aren’t even brown bears, they are black bears. Think of them as smaller man-sized bears that, like there ferocious cousins, will kill you if you are stupid. Imagine the scene from The Revenent but the bear is smaller.
When in bear country, read that as Oklahoma and Arkansas, you should always take bear precautions. As always keep your food up high, make plenty of noise when hiking trails.
Apparently there are many misconceptions about bears. Some people think taking a selfie is a great idea. There was a recent news story about a bear enthusiast who was killed along with his girlfriend while trying to take a selfie with a grizzly bear. I call that natural selection at work. It’s just dumb.
“In the unlikely event a bear charges to attack, you should aggressively fight back against the bear, according to the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Do not attempt to “play dead” during a black bear attack, the agency says.“
Good to know. I’m pretty sure after fighting a bear for 5 to 15 minutes I might appear to be “playing dead” but trust me I’m laying down because I’m out of shape and need a rest. I may have also run out of bullets. Maybe I will give a class on defending yourself from a bear attack by fighting like a rabid ninja turtle.
That quote from above is from KFOR who posted a news story about the increasing population of bears in Oklahoma. The heat map is a good start but be aware if you are on a river bed you can encounter bears.
Mountain Lions and Big Cats
I for one am much more afraid of our mountain lion population in Oklahoma. They have been seen all over the state, even in semi populous areas like the South Canadian River south of Norman and north of Newcastle Oklahoma. I recently saw the carcass of a small mountain lion in the median of highway 62 a mile and a half north of the river. I emailed the Oklahoma Wildlife Department and it was gone the next day. The OWD has had a stance in the recent past the denied the existence of big cats in Oklahoma. It’s hard to deny when you hear one at night.
So if the ice storms, tornados, earthquakes, prairie fires, bears, and mountain lions don’t get you, feral hogs just might.
Don’t even get me started on Bigfoot!
To wrap up,
- bear selfies are a “hard no”
- take bear precautions when camping east of I35 and up near Black Mesa
- while less likely to be encountered, mountain lions are out there and they will mangle you too
- feral pigs have a mean streak a mile wide and there is no daily limit
I feel better that I have provided this very valuable public service announcement.
Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering