Board of Game Declines Action on Brown Bear Harvest Proposal

Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan

The State Board of Game on Sunday declined to take action on a proposal that would have modified the allowable harvest for brown bear on Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof islands.

The Alaska Professional Hunters Association submitted the proposal, which would have prohibited ADF&G from counting annual defense of life and property brown bear kills when figuring brown bear harvest caps in unit four.

The association argues that defense of life and property kills increased significantly over the past several years. The proposal states that the increase is often the result of poor garbage management and has little to do with wildlife management related to sport hunting.

The association argues the defense of life and property kills are inappropriately indicating concerns with over-harvest of brown bears by hunters.

Sitka area wildlife biologist Phil Mooney says defense of life and property brown bear kills have remained relatively flat over the last 30 years, averaging about four percent of brown bears taken in unit four annually.

Meanwhile, Mooney says the number of total brown bears harvested in unit four has increased markedly in the past 30 years.

The board declined to take up the unit four brown bear proposal Sunday.

Board member Ben Grussendorf says the board had previously agreed to leave the harvest cap decisions to Fish and Game staff.

The board of game is meeting in Ketchikan through Tuesday, taking up hunting and trapping management proposals for Southeast Alaska.

The board of game also shot down a proposal to shorten the wolf hunting season throughout much of southeast Alaska on Sunday.

The proposal, floated by the defenders of wildlife, sought to shorten the hunting season for wolves by two months.

Right now the wolf hunting season in game management units 1, 3, 4 and 5 runs from Aug. 1 through April 30. The proposal sought to change that to Sept. 1 through March 31.

The Department of Fish and Game recommended the board reject the proposal. The Board of Game unanimously voted it down.

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