In the history of how Oklahoma was settled, there is a storied history of animals that were hunted out of existence.

Did you know Oklahoma was once home to grizzly bears and gray wolves? While they seem out of place on the plains, they once thrived in river country. But as they were perceived as a danger to travelers and settlers, they were killed on sight in droves and likely harvested for food similar to the now-extinct native Oklahoma elk population.


The black bear nearly followed the same species trajectory in the Sooner State, but thanks to conservation efforts for the last hundred years, there are more of these curious beasts now than ever.

It has been such a success that Oklahoma opened a regulated hunting season for black bears back in 2009, and have expanded it every few years since.

While the overwhelming majority of our black bears live in the forested areas in Eastern Oklahoma and into Arkansas, they occasionally wander into the populated areas of the state much to the surprise of those that spot them. Most recently just outside the OKC metro in the tiny little town of Byng, and perhaps the same bear again a little further East in Calvin.

@lacielowryJust off Highway 75 near Calvin, Oklahoma. Video from Michael Lindley.♬ Come Check This (Quickie Edit) - FETISH

This isn't the only surprising bear thing to happen in Oklahoma in the past few years. Wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico pushed grizzly bears into the panhandle a few years ago... at least that's the assumed rumor from No Man's Land. The only video evidence

@okiegirl46 #brownbear #oklahomacheck #oklahoma #ReTokforNature #ranchland ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

Experts are split on what kind of bear it actually is. The lighter colored 'mane' of neck/back hair suggests it could be a juvenile brown bear, but others insist it's a black bear.

Regardless, as conservation efforts continue to restore this species to Oklahoma, we're only going to get more opportunities to see them in person.

If you really want to a good look at Oklahoma's wildlife, you might join the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation... They spend their days this time of year checking in on and snuggling baby bears.

@okwildlifedept For more than 20 years we’ve partnered with Oklahoma State University to research Oklahoma’s black bear populations in the eastern portion of our state. During den surveys, a team of researchers and biologists check-up on the health of female bears and her cubs while she is sedated. After measurements were taken these 6-week-old cubs were safely returned to the den to nurse 🐻 #oklahoma #wildlife #conservation #bear #outdoors #nature #animals #trend ♬ ceilings - Sped Up Version - Lizzy McAlpine

It should go without saying, you shouldn't try that yourself... You'll end up the family member that disappeared into the wilds of Oklahoma never to be seen or heard from again.

Weird and Wild Pets You Can Have In Oklahoma

When it comes to the topic of exotic and wild animals in Oklahoma, there is a very short list of things you can't own as a pet... but there are ways around almost all the red tape in the Sooner State.

Gallery Credit: Kelso

Oklahoma State Parks

Get out and enjoy one of Oklahoma's amazing state parks sometime. From the high desert of Black Mesa to the swampy lowlands and tall pines of Southeast Oklahoma, there's a place of recreation for everyone in the Sooner State.

Gallery Credit: Kelso

Oklahoma's Top 10 Most Dangerous & Deadly Animals

Oklahoma is well known for having some of the most dangerous and deadly wild animals to be found anywhere in the United States. The Sooner State is home to several species of wild animals that could quickly and easily harm or kill you. We have it all, from poisonous snakes and spiders to carnivorous predators and everything in between. You'll want to be aware and avoid these dangerous and deadly animals if at all possible. Most aren't looking to harm or kill you but if disturbed or agitated will absolutely attack.

Gallery Credit: Don "Critter" Brown


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