The state and federal governments have recently disagreed on Kenai Peninsula hunting, as the state hunt for species like brown bear, lynx, and coyotes has been closed within the federally-managed Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Tonight, local residents will hear why.
Deputy Refuge Manager Steve Miller said there’ll be a presentation and time for comment at the Gilman River Center in Soldotna tonight from 6-9pm…
Miller: “We’ve been meeting locally with counterparts in the Department of Fish & Game, and there was back and forth. Their reasoning behind what they had done is to decrease the brown bear population on the peninsula, and that is not our goal on the refuge. Our goal on the refuge is to have a healthy brown bear population and the state is well within their rights outside of the refuge to reduce the population, but it was getting too extreme on the refuge and we decided to close.”
We’ve previously spoken to ADF&G Regional Management Coordinator Gino Del Frae about why the state liberalized the hunt this year…
Del Frate: “We received quite a bit of input with the Board of Game meeting last March in Kenai, that the public that lives on the Kenai would like to see fewer bear/human encounters, and hence a slightly smaller bear population, and so the Board of Game passed the regulation that increased the hunter opportunity and increased the harvest opportunity for bears on the Kenai.”
Both agencies say they’ve been trying to work together, but have found it necessary to act independently.