West's bear tags bill passes through committtee

Pictured: Rep. Rick West.
News Reporter

A bill changing the requirement for bear tags passed through committee Wednesday with a vote of five to two.

Authored by local District 3 Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener, House Bill 2001 would prohibit lifetime hunting and fishing license holders from having to purchase individual tags for bear hunting. Those exempt from the hunting license fee will also not be required to attach a tag to a killed bear or to purchase a tag for a bear.

“People who purchase lifetime hunting licenses were told years ago that they wouldn’t have to buy animal tags, be it elk tags, deer tags, or any other animal tag," said West. "If you buy a lifetime hunting license, you ought to be able to hunt without the added cost of purchasing additional tags."

Bear hunting only occurs in LeFlore, Latimer, McCurtain and Pushmataha counties in Oklahoma.

“There were concerns that this bill might increase the number of bears killed in Oklahoma," said West.

"Right now, there’s no limit on number of tags sold now, so it won’t substantially change the number of bears hunted each year."
The bill is now eligible to be heard on the House floor.