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Thread: bears, bears and bears

  1. #1
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    Default bears, bears and bears

    What's the deal with all the bears around Anchorage lately?

    I've seen 2 blackies on golf courses in as many days (o'malley/moose run) a few brownies in bicentennial/blm and my neighbor told be about a blackie walking down my street a few days ago. Many more seen stumbling about where I've never seen anything bigger than a squirrel.

    Add to that the recent bear activity in Kincaid and North Anchorage and I've observed more bear activty in the Anchorage area than I've ever in my 25 years of living in town.

    So my question: Is there some kind of bear boom or have I just been in the right place at the right time alot this year?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I seem to have been in the "right place" a lot this year as well. I've seen one in Far North Bicentennial Park right off of Campbell Airstrip Road, two on the tank trail, and another in that campground off of Muldoon. I see more bears in Anchorage now than I do on the Russian River! :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by walkech View Post
    What's the deal with all the bears around Anchorage lately?.......So my question: Is there some kind of bear boom or have I just been in the right place at the right time alot this year?
    Depends on what you believe, and I think there's a requirement to think beyond official biological studies.

    1) I don't think it's too difficult to establish that there are more bears now than in the past statewide, especially brown bears. There have been fairly restrictive hunting regulations from statehood until at least the late 1980's.

    2) There is virtually no bear hunting in Anchorage, especially brown bears. One doesn't need too many trips to Denali National Park to see how that changes bear behavior near humans.

    3) The fairly recent brown bear study conducted by ADFG and the military habitat people demonstrated that the brown bears are all over town (especially the creek/green belts) all summer long.

    I live in the core area of the Mat-Su. I've got about an acre of hillside fenced off and have goats and sheep on it. My brother-in-law the other day, visiting, remarked that he was surprised we've never had bear trouble.

    I'm not surprised. This is the Valley, not Anchorage. If a bear shows up around here, he'll get dead quick (probably l o n g before he shows up at my place).......

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    Default strange

    This last sunday at the girdwood forest fair a black bear tried to sneak in the beer garden. It was pretty strange. about 800 people watching a band, and they announce we need to make more noise to keep the bear away. I didn't see it, but many people did. (mmmmm, I guess they WERE all in the beer garden)

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    No hunting pressure.

    The biggest moose I ever saw was in Anchorage near the airport.

    I saw a very nice full curl ram on the Seward Highway.

    When animals do not feel the need to escape, they won't.

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    Default Response to FAI Daily Newsminer Letter, 7-11

    The following is my response to a letter to the editor blasting bear baiting in the FAI area, 20B. You may want to look at her letter also, which I do not have right now. This letter will go to the editor tonight.


    Support Bear Baiting

    Jade Murphy (July 11, 2007, Bear Baiting) should grab a copy of Webster’s and look up speculation, mis-information, and conjecture. That is all she did with her diatribe in a vain attempt to blame bear baiting with defense of life and property (DLP) bear deaths. Her theory is an opinion not based on fact.

    The regulations show unit 1C (Juneau/Douglas area) and Unit 14C (Anchorage area) are closed to bear baiting, yet like 20B (Fairbanks), bears are killed in those areas in DLP. Brown bear populations especially appear to be growing throughout the state, possibly in part due to past hunting restrictions and limited hunting activity. Additionally, bear behavior changes when they are not being hunted.

    More likely the problem is loss of habitat (something you alluded to in your rambling) coupled with potentially increased bear populations, limited hunting of brown bears and increased human/bear contact. As residential areas grow, bear habitat shrinks. That’s right Jade you are part of the problem. You chose to live where bears have lived forever.

    ADF&G records from 1986-2005 indicate a large number of black bears have been taken from Unit 20B. Baiting accounts for the majority of the bears taken. That we know of, there have been no black bear DLP deaths this year in 20B. Your theory of habituated bears rings hollow.

    We have baited bears for nearly 20 years in the same area. We recreate there in the summer as well as hunt moose in the fall. We have never had a problem with bears, nor have we ever heard of anybody having a problem with bears in that area.

    Hunting regulations require that bait stations be ½ mile from roads and 1 mile from dwellings. If you know of bear bait stations that are in “close proximity” to residential areas, or you know of neighbors leaving garbage out it is your responsibility to report them equally to the Troopers. If you do not, you are once again part of the problem.

    ANY COMMENTS ARE APPRECIATED

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    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    The following is my response to a letter to the editor blasting bear baiting in the FAI area, 20B. You may want to look at her letter also, which I do not have right now. This letter will go to the editor tonight....

    .....Jade Murphy (July 11, 2007, Bear Baiting) should grab a copy of Webster’s and look up speculation, mis-information, and conjecture. That is all she did with her diatribe in a vain attempt to blame bear baiting with defense of life and property (DLP) bear deaths. Her theory is an opinion not based on fact.

    The regulations show unit 1C (Juneau/Douglas area) and Unit 14C (Anchorage area) are closed to bear baiting, yet like 20B (Fairbanks), bears are killed in those areas in DLP. Brown bear populations especially appear to be growing throughout the state, possibly in part due to past hunting restrictions and limited hunting activity. Additionally, bear behavior changes when they are not being hunted

    More likely the problem is loss of habitat (something you alluded to in your rambling) coupled with potentially increased bear populations, limited hunting of brown bears and increased human/bear contact. As residential areas grow, bear habitat shrinks. That’s right Jade you are part of the problem. You chose to live where bears have lived forever.

    ADF&G records from 1986-2005 indicate a large number of black bears have been taken from Unit 20B. Baiting accounts for the majority of the bears taken. That we know of, there have been no black bear DLP deaths this year in 20B. Your theory of habituated bears rings hollow.

    We have baited bears for nearly 20 years in the same area. We recreate there in the summer as well as hunt moose in the fall. We have never had a problem with bears, nor have we ever heard of anybody having a problem with bears in that area.

    Hunting regulations require that bait stations be ½ mile from roads and 1 mile from dwellings. If you know of bear bait stations that are in “close proximity” to residential areas, or you know of neighbors leaving garbage out it is your responsibility to report them equally to the Troopers. If you do not, you are once again part of the problem.

    ANY COMMENTS ARE APPRECIATED
    That's an absolutely excellent letter. However, I wish you'd reconsider publishing the portion I emboldened. Here's why:

    The environmental types have used "habitat loss" as a weapon against us for years. The very fact that people build homes, businesses, roads, etc is now somehow evil.

    Even here in Mat-Su (the fastest growing area of the state), the growth is but a zit. The physical footprint of humanity hasn't reduced bear habitat in terms of habitat destruction.

    The fact that there are more people here to shoot them has, and very much so.

    Regardless, in the past 30+ years, I simply don't see bears running around in the core area of Mat-Su, never did, and don't want to. This has been an agricultural community for the past 70+ years (complete with livestock aplenty), and it's the recognized center of that culture in the state. This is the location of the Alaska State Fair. We do livestock here.

    Anchorage is in cultural turmoil. It's the largest city in North America north of Edmonton, there are bears all over the place, they're proud of it, and they simply don't know better because the place is filled with people fresh from Urban America (or worse). They love nearby zoos without fences until the critters eat their garden or kill their kids or grandparents.

    It's a different world there than it is in Seattle, Palmer, Tok, or Stevens Village. The problem is that Anchorage has the media outlets that dictate "reality" in Alaska to the rest of the world.

    Bears are nearby aplenty, right where they belong. In the woods.

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    Default Thanks Mark

    For the feedback. I am trying to figure how your perspective will work. A response to her letter is difficult at so many levels. I am trying to keep the focus to specific points. Hopefully a few of you will chime in with your own letters.
    Perhaps instead of "loss of habitat" I find a way to say "encroachment into bear habitat". Something to think about.
    She may not be anti hunting (her statement) but it sure sounds like it, and she fuels the anti fire.
    Thanks again, we'll be in touch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post

    The environmental types have used "habitat loss" as a weapon against us for years. The very fact that people build homes, businesses, roads, etc is now somehow evil.
    If the environmental types are using this against us (hunters), why can't we use it against them? They live in those homes, shop in those buisnesses, and use those roads. It's not ok for them not to bear(no pun intended) any of the burden.

    -Eric

    Sorry guys, supposed to be lab man.

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    First off, great letter. I think it should be pointed out that Jade refers to bears in general and does not distinguish between black and grizzly. She equates baiting for blackies to DLP killings of griz. That's a stretch. ALL of the bears killed in DLP around the Fairbanks area are grizzlies. When was the last time you heard of a problem with a blackie? I've only been here 16 years but I can't remember hearing of one. I recall a sighting of a blackie in Westgate a few years ago but that's right in the middle of Fairbanks and in my inlaws backyard! No baiting going on there. She probably doesn't know that you cannot bait griz. hmmm, interesting thought.... blackies are baited and we have no DLP issues. Griz are not allowed to be baited and we have problems with them.

    Maybe they need to allow baiting for griz around the Fairbanks are for a time to cull the griz population. Maybe the problem is not bear baiting but the lack of it!

    Perry
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    First off, great letter. I think it should be pointed out that Jade refers to bears in general and does not distinguish between black and grizzly. She equates baiting for blackies to DLP killings of griz. That's a stretch. ALL of the bears killed in DLP around the Fairbanks area are grizzlies. When was the last time you heard of a problem with a blackie? I've only been here 16 years but I can't remember hearing of one. I recall a sighting of a blackie in Westgate a few years ago but that's right in the middle of Fairbanks and in my inlaws backyard! No baiting going on there. She probably doesn't know that you cannot bait griz. hmmm, interesting thought.... blackies are baited and we have no DLP issues. Griz are not allowed to be baited and we have problems with them.

    Maybe they need to allow baiting for griz around the Fairbanks are for a time to cull the griz population. Maybe the problem is not bear baiting but the lack of it!

    Perry
    Perry,
    Could it be that the Black Bears coming to the bait are killed and the Grizzlies coming to the same bait are watched and remain in the area to roam. I don't think the bears know the bait is intended solely for the black bears. Very complex issue and it has a lot of twists in many directions. Bottom line should be, if a bear is a problem bear it should be dealt with swiftly.

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    Default ADF&G report

    The report I refer to from F&G is an eye opener. The number of bears reportedly taken is much greater than I would have ever thought. I did not post the numbers in the letter to the editor so as not to give antis easy fuel.
    Depending on what you see depends on where you stand. I find what to me is a common sense perspective that baiting has aided in fewer DLP deaths overall in 20B and no black bear deaths amongst those that are killed DLP.
    Is it possible that the DLP grizzlies are baited prior to the interaction that resulted in their demise? Yes. Remember though that her original letter talks about "close proximity" baiting, which I doubt has much if any merit.
    Currently F&G is comfortable in the management aspect of baiting in 20B and the black bear that are taken are within their goals. Another theory presented is that perhaps it is time for F&G to allow baiting for grizzlies around FAI/FBKS as they do in 20E and 19. I concur that it is better for hunters to manage the resource, and therefore reduce negative interactions, than it is for the state to do so on their own.
    Have you guessed the numbers of bear taken for the time period noted? If you guessed close to 3,000 you would not be wrong.
    Monday I will submit my letter to the Fbks Daily News. I do have a few changes planned.

  13. #13
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    If the environmental types are using this against us (hunters), why can't we use it against them? They live in those homes, shop in those buisnesses, and use those roads.....
    It would be nice, but they're hypocrites. It's the same with global warming. They burn fossil fuels just like everybody else, but it's somehow somebody else's fault.

  14. #14

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    I just laugh when I read some stuff people write. As if its something new for bears to come in to the smell of food, whether it be on a grill, in the trash, or stowed away in a shed. Its just a reality, bears live to eat, we provide a source of food. The grizzly/brown bear populations in Alaska are alive and healthy and its simply because without baiting them in some regions they live in thick forests with lots of cover, they are wise (generally) to avoid us when they smell us, and if we cant see them , we cant shoot them. I have seen some clear cut first hand identifiers that the grizzly numbers are strong and healthy in the interior and as a result more and more encounters with man will surface as the years go by, sadly some of them may be the worst kind. They have all the advantages when in the woods, guns, and scopes and 4 wheelers and boats will only help humans a little in finding and killing them but they are the wiliest critter i have crossed while hunting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaCub View Post
    I just laugh when I read some stuff people write. As if its something new for bears to come in to the smell of food, whether it be on a grill, in the trash, or stowed away in a shed. Its just a reality, bears live to eat, we provide a source of food. The grizzly/brown bear populations in Alaska are alive and healthy and its simply because without baiting them in some regions they live in thick forests with lots of cover, they are wise (generally) to avoid us when they smell us, and if we cant see them , we cant shoot them. I have seen some clear cut first hand identifiers that the grizzly numbers are strong and healthy in the interior and as a result more and more encounters with man will surface as the years go by, sadly some of them may be the worst kind. They have all the advantages when in the woods, guns, and scopes and 4 wheelers and boats will only help humans a little in finding and killing them but they are the wiliest critter i have crossed while hunting.
    It's hard to laugh when people are trying to stop baiting. I had a buddy run into a sow and two cubs on the upper chena the other day. Interior grizzly populations seem to be thriving.

    -Eric

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    Perry,
    Could it be that the Black Bears coming to the bait are killed and the Grizzlies coming to the same bait are watched and remain in the area to roam. I don't think the bears know the bait is intended solely for the black bears. Very complex issue and it has a lot of twists in many directions. Bottom line should be, if a bear is a problem bear it should be dealt with swiftly.
    I think the griz are in the area anyway and bear baiting has nothing to do with problem griz around Fairbanks. There are a lot more smelly things and areas to attract them than a few bait stations. Like peoples homes, etc. Civilization in general.

    I think equating griz problems with bear baiting is a stretch. Maybe if they let bear baiters kill some griz over the bait we would have fewer griz in the area and less problems.

    Also, the increase in griz problems has been recent. It has not alway been this way around Fairbanks but guys have been bear baiting for a long time.

    Fortunately problem bears are being killed before they kill a human.

    So, maybe in a way the griz ARE being baited! The "bait" is civilization. The bait station is the homeowners backyard.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

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    Quote Originally Posted by lab man View Post
    It's hard to laugh when people are trying to stop baiting. I had a buddy run into a sow and two cubs on the upper chena the other day. Interior grizzly populations seem to be thriving.

    -Eric
    For years I moose hunted the chena just up from the flood gate and down river a ways. One year we were flabergasted when we saw a griz. The next fall a sow and two cubs. The following spring was when that family drowned in Chena lakes after running into a sow and cubs. Since then girz sightings and encounters have become common place around here in the spring. They have no predators, require a griz tag and you can't bait them. Time for F&G to rethink the situation around here before someones toddler gets killed in his back yard. I saw this same type of thing happen in Montana with cougars in the 80's. Population increased, no predators, tough hunting regs and kids being dragged out of thier backyards and only to be found in the belly of a cougar. Sad deal.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

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