In addition to being a country star, coach on The Voice and an entrepreneur, Blake Shelton is also a board director of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation. Over the weekend, Shelton embraced the role in eastern Oklahoma, spending the day with bear researchers who are studying black bears in the state.
The research helps to keep track of the bear population in Oklahoma and the health of the herd, and Shelton looked on 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 a bear cub, who graciously took a moment to pose with the country star for a photo the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation shared on Facebook.
Bear biologists recorded the weight, chest girth, sex and any distinguishing marks on the cub and inserted a tracking tag, which is similar to a microchip and allows researchers to scan for identification purposes if they ever catch the bear again. Lastly, they returned the cub to its mother in her den.
The group was initially able to find the cub because its mother is outfitted with a tracking collar, and researchers tranquilized the mother bear in order to collect data from the cub. Researchers don't leave until they know the mother bear is back to normal and the cub is safe.
On Twitter on Monday, Shelton called his day of bear research "easily one of the coolest experiences of my life" and encouraged fans to enter a raffle where they can win the chance to be a "bear biologist" for a day
through the Outdoor Oklahoma Adventures raffle program. All money raised will go directly to the department's conservation efforts, and you can enter here.
In September, Shelton got outdoors with the OWCF when he invited several foster children to one of his Oklahoma farm ponds for a day on the water. The day was part of the Fostering Outdoor Oklahoma Families partnership between the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation (OWCF) and Fostering Outdoor Oklahoma Families, a program designed to introduce foster children and their families to the outdoors.
"Blake invited several foster children to come fish one of his Oklahoma farm ponds," the foundation wrote on Facebook alongside of photos of Shelton fishing with the kids. "He and some other wonderful volunteers with ODWC, OKDHS and OWCF helped teach the kiddos how to fish (and as you see in the pictures, they caught some nice bass)."