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The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will be one of many conservation agencies participating in the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Second Annual Black Bear Bonanza, Presented by onX, from 9 a.m-5 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at the Benton County Quail Barn in Northwest Arkansas.
The Bonanza is being held by the Arkansas Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for public lands, waters and wildlife. The family-friendly event features a day full of activities, live music, raffles and seminars celebrating the success of the black bear’s reintroduction into the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas in the 1950s. The growing population of black bears now supports a regulated hunt in Arkansas as well as Missouri and Oklahoma and continues to expand into new territories.
Along with returning favorites such as the World Famous Owl Hoot Contest and a live recording of Clay Newcomb’s Bear Grease [Render] Podcast, new seminars have been added to the day’s events. The first 300 guests who arrive for the morning session will enjoy Basecamp coffee compliments of onX. The morning’s activities include a wild game butchering demonstration by Pack Rat Outdoor Center’s Rick Spicer; Dr. Devin Pettigrew, an archaeologist who researches ancient hunters and their tools and tactics, will discuss ancient bear hunters and the tools they might have used; and Jonathan Wilkins, host of the Black Duck Revival Podcast and owner of Black Duck Revival in Brinkley, will demonstrate easy ways to turn your success in the field into meals for family and friends.
After lunch, AGFC Large Carnivore Program Coordinator Myron Means will provide the latest news regarding bears in Arkansas and will take questions from the audience. Meateater content creator Clay Newcomb and special guests will record a live episode of his Bear Grease [Render] Podcast. Clay will then be joined by Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioner Anne Marie Doramus and Lynn Sciumbato from Morningstar Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to judge the World Famous Owl Hoot Contest, emceed by Bear Grease Podcast crew member Brent Reaves. First prize this year is a genuine Arkansas-treed coonskin cap, and qualifying for the contest will take place in the morning, so be sure to arrive early if you want to participate.
This year’s Super Raffle is powered by onX and includes a Canadian bear hunt with Baldy Mountain Outfitters in Manitoba and a Garrett Polk knife custom-made with a handle made from a bone of a bear Clay Newcomb harvested. Tickets for the Super Raffle are capped at 200, and the first 50 buyers will receive an onX app card worth $30. The regular raffle has thousands of dollars of prizes including outdoor gear, clothing and other valuable items from sponsors like Umarex, Vortex, Bushnell, First Lite, Benchmade, and many others. Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation will be on hand with engaging activities for families and lunch will be available for purchase from several food trucks. There will be live music, an Outdoor Brands Pavilion, and atlatl demonstration as well.
Tickets for the event are $10 for everyone 13 and over and are available in advance at https://www.backcountryhunters.org/black_bear_bonanza_2023 or at the door. Children 12 and under get in free. All funds raised will support the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers chapters and their efforts to protect local public lands and wildlife. For more information, email the Arkansas Chapter at [email protected].
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is the voice for wild public lands, waters and wildlife. To learn more about BHA connect via social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube or their website.