Refuge Closes Bear Hunt, State Keeps it Open

In an unusual move, the federally-run Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has closed brown bear hunting within its borders, while the State Department of Fish & Game keeps the hunt open in all other areas.


We spoke with ADF&G Regional Management Coordinator Gino Del Frate…


Del Frate: “It’s incumbent up on us to try and work with our land managing agencies the best that we can, so we can better manage the resource for the local public as well as all interested publics and we do that very well in most situations. We work with the Fish & Wildlife Service on a regular basis and in this situation, they felt it necessary to take additional action.”


However, Del Frate said the state is meeting the objectives outlined by the Board of Game earlier 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.”


67 brown bear have been taken this year, with 23 in defense of life and property. In total, 22 female adult browns were taken, 7 through defense and 15 through hunting. Del Frate said they’re closely monitoring the population, which has been estimated at around 600 bears, especially when it comes to the adult females.

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