Bear Sightings East Of Tulsa

Tuesday, May 26th 2009, 5:12 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- There are black bears in Oklahoma, lots of them, but they don't often venture into the Tulsa area.  In the past few weeks there have been reports of bear sightings east of Tulsa.

A homeowner took some pictures, and a wildlife expert told The News On 6 that all the sightings are probably one young bear looking for a home.

The three year olds, four year olds and five year olds at Trinity Episcopal Day School go on bear hunts almost every day.  They never find a real bear, but Richard Hoar at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife says they're around.

"Those eastern counties from Sallisaw up north along our state line, that whole broad band up to about Jay, there's established populations of bears," said Richard Hoar with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

He says the moms kick the young males out every spring to find their own way.

"The young males have to find a territory where they can establish themselves without competing with another male," said Richard Hoar with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

Sometimes they'll wander into a populated area because they are hungry and garbage cans are a good source of food.

A homeowner east of Tulsa took pictures of a young bear sniffing around the back yard earlier this month.  In fact, Richard Hoar thinks the same bear has been seen several times.

"He was seen near Haskell.  He was seen outside Catoosa.  He was seen outside Broken Arrow," said Richard Hoar with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.  "They don't survive well in populated areas."

And, that brings us to a not-so-happy ending to our bear story.  Broken Arrow Police reported a bear was hit by a car in Wagoner Country.

The Oklahoma Wildlife Department says the bears aren't interested in people, they're looking for food.  If we leave them alone, they say, they'll move on.