PHOTO: Blake Shelton Holds, Studies Black Bear Cubs with Oklahoma Researchers

by Jon D. B.

“Cub hug!” The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation received some help studying their black bear population over the weekend from their Board Director: Blake Shelton.

To country music megastar Blake Shelton, being board director of his home state’s Wildlife Conservation Foundation is far more than an honorary title. It’s one he takes full responsibility – and activity – within. Whether he’s teaching local kids how to fish in his own pond – or helping researchers study their recovering black bear population – Shelton is as hands-on a director as any conservation foundation could ask for.

Saturday saw Shelton continue his conservation work with OWCF researchers as they study black bears in eastern Oklahoma. Together, The Voice & recording sensation embraced his other love – the great outdoors – as wildlife biologists and bear researchers collected data from a bear cub.

One of the perks of being Board Director? Getting to hold said adorable bear cub as research continues. OWCF posted a shot of Shelton holding his wild friend on Facebook Saturday – the cub squirming as much as Shelton is smiling.

“This important research is now in its 20th year,” OWCF begins in their post. “It’s helping keep track of the growing bear population in Oklahoma, along with the health of the herd.”

And as you can see straight through his COVID mask, Blake Shelton is loving every minute of it:

CUB HUG! Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation Board Director Blake Shelton spent the day in eastern Oklahoma with…

Posted by Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation on Saturday, March 6, 2021

“Today Blake watched as wildlife biologists and bear researchers with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) and Oklahoma State Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources collected data from this cute cub,” the post continues.

Blake Shelton Aids in Recording Weight, Girth, Sex, & Markings of Oklahoma Bear Cub

As part of their research, bear biologists record the weight, chest girth, sex, and all markings on the black bears. To help keep track of bear populations and behaviors, a small tracking tag was inserted into the little fellow. Think microchips like we use for domestic pets. After his check-up and tagging, the cub is then returned to the mother’s den, where she rests sedated.

In the case of this cub’s mother, she also wears a similar tracking collar. This way, Oklahoma biologists can monitor her location, enabling them to study her offspring’s welfare. Although she must first be sedated for the safety of the teams (and Blake Shelton, of course), “Researchers don’t leave until they know the mother bear is back to normal and the cub is safe,” OWCF clarifies.

If all of this sounds like a dream come true for you, OWCF has excellent news. The foundation is raffling off a chance to “be a bear biologist for the day” through their raffle program. All proceeds from the raffle go directly into state conservation efforts, the organization cites. And who knows, perhaps Blake Shelton will be present for this, too. You never know where the star will pop up when it comes to the great Oklahoma outdoors.