In what has to become an annual occurrence, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has this year again issued an Emergency Order closing the upcoming brown bear hunting season on the Kenai Peninsula.
Specifically, the order closes the fall portion of the brown bear drawing permit hunts (DB301, DB303, DB305, DB307 and DB309), which were scheduled to occur Oct. 1 through Nov. 30 in Game Management Units 7 and 15.
This should hardly come as a surprise to most hunters since roughly a week ago while giving the annual hunting forecast, Jeff Selinger, area wildlife biologist with the Fish and Game, said the hunt would in all probability be canceled due to "the number of female bears that have died as a result of human-caused mortalities" this year.
Human-caused mortality include defense of life and property kills, automobile collisions, illegally-taken brown bears, hunter kills and management-related deaths of bruins.
In regard to brown bear management on the Kenai Peninsula, Fish and Game currently manages harvest so human-caused mortalities do not exceed 20 total brown bears, nor exceed eight female bears older than one year from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 of the current year.
"Unfortunately, that was the case this year," Selinger said in a press release.
From Jan. 1 through Aug. 15, Fish and Game documents indicate human-caused mortalities for brown bears on the peninsula totaled 15 bears, of which 10 were females older than one year.
"If we allowed a fall hunt with the current drawing permits, we would further exceed the current management objectives. Therefore, the fall portion for the 2007/08 brown bear hunting season will be closed by emergency order," Selinger said.
Hunters hoping to bag a bruin shouldn't put away their rifle and ammo just yet, though. Selinger said people who received one of these brown bear permits will be allowed to hunt during the spring portion of the hunt, which is scheduled for April 1 through June 15, 2008.
"Permits issued this year are your valid permits for the spring season," Selinger said in the press release.
All other brown bear hunting regulations are not affected by this emergency order. Fore more information, call Fish and Game at (907) 262-9368.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org