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Thread: Helicopter, foot-snares and bears, oh my!

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Helicopter, foot-snares and bears, oh my!

    Well, the BOG passed Proposal 171 today, which authorizes the use of foot-snares in GMU 16 as part of a predation control effort. They also amended the language in order to consolidate several proposals, and to include the authorization to use helicopters to access bear baiting and foot-snaring camps. Here are the provisions contained in the amended proposal:

    1. Participating permittees must be residents 16 years of age or older.
    2. Season length would be from April 15 - August 15.
    3. Helicopters may be used for access only to bear baiting camps and foot-snaring camps during April 15 to August 15 provided the helicopter pilot obtains a permit and attends an orientation given by Department personnel in the Palmer office. Permits for use of helicopters will be discretionary. Helicopters may be used only for transport of people, gear, bear hides, bear skulls, and bear meat to and from bear baiting and bear foot-snaring camps. No more than 10 helicopter pilot permits will be issued.
    4. Up to 10 brown bears may be taken (in aggregate for all permittees) with foot-snares incidentally to the foot-snaring of black bears. Hides and skulls of brown bears will become property of the Department. Department staff will release incidentally caught brown bears if possible.
    5. Participants must complete a training program in the field, administered by Department staff or a Department approved contractor.
    6. Foot-snares may be placed on the ground or in buckets and must be checked every 24 hours.
    7. Participants must report all animals taken in foot snares to Department staff within 48 hours.


    There was some discussion yesterday concerning people being allowed to bring along a child to participate or observe, and my understanding is that the decision was to allow children between the ages of 10-15 to accompany an adult.

    It is my understanding that this amended proposal passed today. This means that we are going with foot-snaring black bears in GMU 16, and that helicopters will be used to access remote camps where snaring and / or baiting will take place from April 15 until August 15. If anyone has different info, please feel free to correct me. I was not here all day, and may have missed something.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  2. #2
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    Default Just curious....

    I see they are limiting helicopter access to 10 choppers. It will be interesting to see who gets the 10 permits, and who they are connected to politically.

    This situation is going to be a mess.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    'zactly how do you "release incidentally caught brown bears"???
    Winter is Coming...

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    JOAT,
    I would say very cautiously

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    Lots of darts or bullets?

    Who gets in trouble if there is 11 brown bears snared the 1st day?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    What an absolute shame.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default man this sucks

    I went on the road for 48 hours and this is what i come back too?

    bears in snares, points, harvest preference alotments......????????



    sounds like the money won again.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member Oak's Avatar
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    So who is the "money" behind this proposal? Wasn't some group running black bear "control" camps in unit 16 last year? Are they the ones behind this proposal?

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    Good and bad I guess , But come on there are a ton of Black bears in 16 ,They should up the limit to 6. The area I do tours ,In a 3 mile area 4 bait stands 10 bears came out of there during baiting ,So there is no shortage of bears.
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    Good and bad I guess , But come on there are a ton of Black bears in 16 ,They should up the limit to 6. The area I do tours ,In a 3 mile area 4 bait stands 10 bears came out of there during baiting ,So there is no shortage of bears.
    There wasn't a limit under the control permits last year.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oak View Post
    So who is the "money" behind this proposal? Wasn't some group running black bear "control" camps in unit 16 last year? Are they the ones behind this proposal?
    Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife - Alaska

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    Yea, it's just a crying shame folks should get an increased opportunity to harvest blacks. The guy who gave the snaring demo at the BoG meeting also gave a demo to the trappers assoc. He is a very experienced biologist/hunter/trapper.
    Anytime something new is tried, it takes time to work out the bugs. There's no shortage of any type of bear in unit 16...........well maybe polar bears are extinct there, haha.
    Let's see how it works and then throw some stones if it doesn't.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    Yea, it's just a crying shame folks should get an increased opportunity to harvest blacks.
    How was there a restricted opportunity in any way for any hunter, marten? Those that put in the smallest amount of effort last year were rewarded with ample opportunities to harvest a black bear (or multiple bears, for that matter). The opportunity already existed.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Well, uh...

    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    'zactly how do you "release incidentally caught brown bears"???
    You tranquilize 'em first. That's one reason why the whole thing is being supervised by ADFG in the field; they will administer the drugs. At the same time there is a recognition that occasional conditions may exist where a brown bear may have to be euthanized, hence the 10 brown bear limit overall. One biologist stated that when a black bear encounters a moose with two calves, he will usually kill only one of the calves. A brownie is much more aggressive and will usually kill both calves. So the thinking is that even if some brown bears are killed through this effort, the overall goal of increasing moose survival will be supported.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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  15. #15
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Money?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oak View Post
    So who is the "money" behind this proposal? Wasn't some group running black bear "control" camps in unit 16 last year? Are they the ones behind this proposal?
    Not sure what you mean. Unless some money was spent on advertising, there should have been no real cost in getting the proposal before the BOG. If you're talking about who is going to pay for the effort itself, that was discussed at length. I missed this morning's session, but yesterday when Mr. Spraker asked that question, the folks from ADFG indicated that the cost would be borne by the trappers themselves, and possibly if a nonprofit group wanted to assist.

    Is this what you're talking about?

    Honestly I don't see any money behind this at all, it's just an effort to give the moose a better chance of survival in Unit 16.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  16. #16
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    You tranquilize 'em first. That's one reason why the whole thing is being supervised by ADFG in the field; they will administer the drugs.
    So each trip out, they must be accompanied by a wildlife officer equipped for dart anesthesia. Sounds rather burdensome on the state (and in turn, on us).
    Winter is Coming...

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  17. #17
    Member Oak's Avatar
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    Michael, I was just referring to the following quote in the post before mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    sounds like the money won again.
    That being said, I find it hard to believe that regular trappers would petition for the right to use helicopters, as they cost a lot of money to operate. Are you sure that the non-profit group was not behind the whole petition in the first place?

  18. #18
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    ohhh stop beating around the bush... SFW-A made it clear that they wanted to use choppers to access remote camps. There is certainly no mystery here. Now on to the bigger question, how much is a black bear hide worth? Is it going to be economical to trap bears?

  19. #19

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    This is perhaps the very best decision made by the BOG this year. It will open eyes of many to the dramatic steps needed to curb the predators of the state that are reeking havoc on the game populations. I seriously hope the iniative can be be taken to a state wide concept. KUDO's to the BOG on this one. It sorta makes up a little bit for the one's they erred on.
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  20. #20
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default listen before you leap

    I didn't see any conspiracy behind the decision. I watched the bear snaring demonstration, and it was very eye opening. I had a lot of preconceptions that were addressed. The trapper, a biologist and professional trapper from Quebec, was asked specifically by the board what a hide was worth. He said about a hundred dollars, tops. Its also tough to sell the meat. Claws get about $40. He can get $100 for a skinned beaver carcass in some of the villages, so bear trapping is not a profitable venture. Its used largely to take out nuisance bears at orchards, farms, and homes.

    If you are looking for conspiracy and favoritism to certain groups who may benefit from this decision, you'll find it wherever you want to look. If you are looking for logic from the board in the making of their decisions, based on the best biology available, it is definitely in this decision.

    I personally think that the board made the logical next step based on Fish and Game testimony. These numbers are not exact, as I'm pulling them from memory, but I'm pretty sure they're accurate within about 50 animals. Tony Kavelok presented these numbers to my AC before the BOG meeting. The harvest goal in Unit 16B is 1200 black bears. The board has been tweaking limits and seasons to try to achieve this goal. With the increased limit of 3 bears, peak harvest was around 400. With the addition of control permits, harvest last year was around 475 (it was less than 500). So even with the efforts for intensive management thus far, F&G is harvesting just over a third of its goal, and the control permits did not increase black bear harvest as much as hoped for. The other major problem was that the vast majority of harvest occurred along the major river corridors. Very few bear were taken from a large portion of the unit, because of difficulty of access. Basically what they're saying is that it does little good if you achieve your numeric goal by completely wiping out all the bears in a small portion of the unit, if the majority of the unit still has all its predators.

    By adding snaring and helicopter access, it addresses the problems of being able to access more of Unit 16B and spread the control effort more evenly across the unit. This is my take on why the decisions were made, after being involved in and watching the evolution of the process for several years.

    And Joat, the board did ask how you release an unwanted bear. In Quebec, that would usually be a sow with cubs, or one of the cubs. In his strong French Canadian accent, the trapper replied, well, some of the guys use a piece of plywood and keep it between them and the bear, but I don't really like to do that. Others will use a plastic container, it takes about 3 guys, and hold her down inside it while they pull the snare off. The snare does very little damage; you sometimes can't even tell which leg was caught after skinning it. Again, he said he didn't really like to do that either- "those guys are kind of crazy."

    He was also asked how they kill the ones they want. He "snipes them" with a .22 or .22 magnum. As long as the bear doesn't know he's approaching, they are very easy to kill with a shot in the head.

    The other thing with snaring that he really emphasized was that you can limit the size of bear you catch with the snare by how high on the tree you place it, and the size of the hole you place in the bucket. This won't stop you from catching brownie cubs, unfortunately. Trapping sites are set up like a bait station, with pre baiting until the bears start coming in, and setting the snare once they are known to be using the area. Thats probably the biggest key to not catching brownies: setting snares only in a spot where the regular visitors are blackies, and checking the snare very soon after setting it. He stated most bears get caught within 6 hours of setting the snare.

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