This really sucks......


New member
Mar 19, 2001
Last summer I ran into this real nice sized brown bear a couple of times. last falls hunting was cancelled because of weather and it looks like this falls hunt will be cancelled also. Is there no justice? :mad:

Brown bears dying at grisly rate
PENINSULA: With its sow quota nearly reached, state may close fall hunting.

By Jon Little
Anchorage Daily News

(Published: July 31, 2002)
The month of July has been rough for Kenai Peninsula brown bears. Five have been killed -- three within a week. Some are nuisance bears shot by frightened homeowners. But, surprisingly, others were struck and killed by traffic.

The grisly toll follows a growing trend over the past few years, said Gino Del Frate, a state wildlife biologist based in Homer. More and more Peninsula brown bears are being killed outside the hunting season, he said. And the mortality typically peaks at the height of summer.

"We've had a rash in July, but it also coincides with a whole lot of people on the Kenai," he said. "There's lots of bears moving around, and there are lots of people interacting with bears because they're all looking for the same stuff, which is sockeye salmon."

Summer brown bear mortality has grown from near zero in the 1980s to a peak of 14 in the past year, Del Frate said.

Wildlife managers monitor bear numbers on a 12-month cycle beginning July 1, so that total includes deaths that occurred this summer before June 30.

Of the five reported kills since July 1, perhaps the most notable was a huge male that may have weighed as much as 800 pounds. It was critically wounded in a collision late last week with a Chevy S-10 pickup truck and had to be put down. The truck hit the bear at about 2:30 a.m. Friday on the Kenai Spur Highway between Soldotna and Kenai.

"That's a big bear on the Kenai, but we do have a lot of these big bears," said Larry Lewis, a state wildlife technician who handles most of the nuisance bear calls in the Kenai-Soldotna area.

While the summer's death count sounds alarming, Del Frate described it as "manageable." The overall population is healthy, he said.

"Looking backwards, it seems evident the bear population has increased over the last 20 years," he said. Just how much won't be clear until the state concludes a complex study to determine a more accurate figure.

Existing estimates, based on a mathematical formula, have the population officially pegged from about 250 to 300.

Although those numbers may be a little low, biologists have to stick with that best guess until the study wraps up. In the short term, that is bad news for hunters.

Until new data arrives, biologists are sticking with the current model, which allows just six sows to be killed a year. Female bears are very slow to reproduce, and if their numbers fall too low, the overall population can plummet. The total number of brown bears allowed to be taken in a hunting season is 14.

The state is close to reaching its six-sow quota through defense shootings and traffic accidents and likely will close the Peninsula's fall brown bear hunt, Del Frate said. A decision will be made later.

In addition to a more precise population estimate, state biologists are also working on a new approach to the Peninsula brown bear hunt that may appeal to hunters and the general public.

The idea is to rewrite hunting regulations to target brown bears living closest to the road system, Del Frate said. The goal would be to hunt animals posing a higher risk of becoming garbage bears, leaving harder-to-reach bruins in the backcountry alone.

It is only a concept right now, he said, but the notion probably will be brought up when the state Board of Game discusses Southcentral Alaska issues this winter.

While black bears, too, are being routinely shot in self-defense this summer, that population is so high that nonhunting deaths are not seen as biologically significant. Black bear hunting season is year-round and the bag limit is two per person.

Often, people who call Fish and Game about a nuisance black bear are told to get a hunting license and kill the offending animal, Lewis said.

Brown bears that target garbage, dog food or livestock usually get a second chance. Fish and Game will lure them into a live trap and truck them to a remote corner of the Peninsula.

Lewis said he relocated 14 brown bears last summer but just three so far this year. He attributes the drop to working with homeowners. He encourages them to clean up garbage or anything else that might attract bears. Sometimes the animals leave on their own.

The strangest wrinkle this summer, according to Lewis and Del Frate, is the amount of roadkill. The toll has reached three. A fourth brown bear was stuck by a Subaru but probably survived. It ran off, leaving the front end of the vehicle looking like an accordion.

"We rarely have a roadkill," probably less than one a year over the last decade, Del Frate said.

"And all of a sudden, this summer, whether it's fate or traffic or whatever, we've hit four and killed at least three of them. That's pretty substantial."

Reporter Jon Little can be reached at [email protected] or at 1-907-260-5248.
It does suck, but, what ya gonna do? Maybe next year, although there is a very slight chance it will be open.

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