Alaska Adds More Brown Bear HuntingAlaska DF&G, Bear Hunting Magazine
After days of public testimony at the Alaska Board of Game meeting in Kenai, the board unanimously passed the amended proposal 153A, opening the doors for Kenai Peninsula brown bear hunting and baiting.
Many that spoke at the meeting stated the brown bears contest black bear baiting stands, cutting off hunters springtime source of meat, an increased brown bear presence in town and some believe the bears are killing off the moose population.
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge recently released the Peninsula’s brown bear population estimate at 624 bears. The old estimate was calculated at less than half of this, between 250 and 300. This was in part what lead to allowing the bear hunting opportunities to increase.
The proposal sets a September 1 through May 31 registration brown bear hunt in game management Units 7 and 15, with one bear taken under a registration permit every regulatory year for residents and non-residents. Unit 7 ranges from the Kenai Mountains east including Cooper Landing and Hope; Unit 15 is the rest of the Peninsula.
In past years, the Alaska Fish and Game restricted brown bear hunts through a drawing permit process, but now the registration process will open the hunt up and increase harvest opportunity. The proposal will also allow brown bears to be harvested when contesting hunters’ black bear baiting sites and will distribute baiting and scent luring permits in Units 7 and 15.
Alaska already allows brown bear baiting in six other units in the south-central and interior regions. The proposal requires that all edible brown bear meat be salvaged.
A proposal that the hunt not exceed 70 brown bears harvested in a calendar year was discussed. The cap would include all brown bear mortalities. If the harvest cap is reached, the season will close prematurely. They proposed the cap go into place Jan. 1, 2014.