Brown Bear Hunt Closed After Early Changes

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge brown bear hunt has been closed after the Board of Game liberalized the hunt last March…


Spraker: “And I want to make it very clear, we approached it with the opportunity to allow a little more hunting opportunity for bears, it wasn’t a predator control effort by the board or the Department of Fish and Game. The season that was adopted, and this will start this fall, will be a registration hunt, it will be unlimited as far as how many can register.”


Board of Game Chair Ted Spraker announced the changes after residents complained about an abundance of bruins…


Spraker: “You know, bears were probably the biggest issue. All the people who testified, that seemed to be the common denominator people wanted something done with bears. Mostly from the stand point of fear, a lot of people were concerned with too many bears in town, we had a lot of non-hunters testify that they didn’t want to go hiking with their children anymore because of bears, a lot of concern about that.”


But now, the Fish & Wildlife Service says the bears have been over-harvested. 66 have been taken this year, including 23 in defense of life and property.  That number represents 10 percent of the Peninsula’s total count of around 600 browns.


The current harvest rate is unsustainable according to the Refuge, made worse by the fact that this year the number of reproductive-age females taken is twice the usual number.

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