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Thread: Opinions on bear snaring

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Opinions on bear snaring

    Okay, in order to help keep things from getting too tangled up in one thread, I thought a separate thread on bear snaring would be a good idea. I'll start one on using helicopters too.

    I have mixed feelings about bear snaring. On one hand, IF (and that's a question in itself) we need to do more to thin our bears out in GMU 16 (or anywhere else for that matter), and snaring works better than hunting, why not? On the other hand, if we are already taking enough bears through hunting, is there really a need to employ this method?

    Based on the numbers I heard at the BOG meetings, there were roughly 500 black bears taken in GMU 16 last year. That's about 100 bears fewer than management goals. Do we give hunters more opportunity using conventional means and seasons, do we extend the season for hunting and baiting, or do we go with snaring?

    I don't have enough information to weigh in one way or another, so please inform me.

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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    IF (and that's a question in itself) we need to do more to thin our bears out in GMU 16 (or anywhere else for that matter), and snaring works better than hunting, why not?
    Consistency is important? yes or no

    Bears are classified as big game in our regulations. Tor F

    Bears are defined by our constitution as a food source with other benefits in a natural system known to exist. T or F

    So, the classification of bears has been changed, but only in 'certain areas' and we redefined the intrinsic public worth of bears in constitutional terms....and all this through a political appointed "new administrative job" and an appointed political "board".

    Can any of us be sure we have not 'violated' our resource management mandates and that we very likely are making things worse and not better by prosecuting a purely ideological administrative vision; the equivalent of a 'special interest' group?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    On the other hand, if we are already taking enough bears through hunting, is there really a need to employ this method?
    Clearly; the decisions that we are taking 'enough' RECLASSIFIED bears so why consider the next step is to amend the non-resident must be guided regulation for bears?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Based on the numbers I heard at the BOG meetings, there were roughly 500 black bears taken in GMU 16 last year. That's about 100 bears fewer than management goals. Do we give hunters more opportunity using conventional means and seasons, do we extend the season for hunting and baiting, or do we go with snaring?
    Your focus on 16 is narrow and ill advised.

    16 is all about the public acceptance of the reclassification of bears as predators and the side boards of developing a predator control experiment to justify privatizing resource management for special interest groups and broadening the practices of the commercializing hunting industry.


  3. #3
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    First off, we all have to recognize that there is no way not to catch brown bears/grizzlies when snaring for black bears, no way not to catch brown bear sows with cubs, or even brown bear cubs if you use foot snares set on the ground. Using ground sets as was just approved by the BOG also means there is also no way to avoid catching other non-target animals (fox, wolverine, lynx etc). So are these non-target animals, including brown/grizzly bears, just "collateral damage" as one BOG member said?

    Secondly, we all have to recognize that in areas where black bear snaring is done (Maine, Nova Scotia, to name two), there are mandates in place that snares must be checked every 24 hours. Any snaring of bears will never be done where that regulation is not in place.

    So...assuming we don't want to catch brown/grizzly bears in snares, or even brown bear sows with cubs, or brown bear cubs, right off then the snaring of bears isn't feasible. Because we will catch browns/grizzlies. Let's say we want to release any brown bears caught; well then we have to look into the feasibility of doing that, who would do it, the costs and risks etc. The only way bear snaring in sympatric ecosystems where both brown and black bears exist could be done is if the regulations allowed catching of any bear species and sows with cubs and cubs. And if we reclassified brown bears.

    What about the risks to the "trapper" who walks up on a brown bear cub caught in a foot snare and momma is there too and mighty pissed off? Sure, some would jump at the chance to snare bears, and take those risks, but what are the real risks? What limits would be in place? How many snares could be set by how many people?

    If you look at the mandate to check snares every 24 hours, that alone will tell you that in Alaska such a thing wouldn't work for the vast majority of bear baiters or "trappers." Few people can go out and check a snare every 24 hours, just like few check a bait station every 24 hours; that's why this so-called "experiment" in bear snaring will be done in camps where personnel are present 24 hours a day. That won't be something the general public will be able to do if we were to open snaring of bears up in other areas.

    So the feasibility of the public ever doing bear snaring is just not there.

    Add up the real conservation concerns of catching non-target animals, the risks, the feasibility of the public ever doing this in other areas at unsupervised "camps," and it just doesn't wash.

    Bear snaring (foot snares) in areas where only black bears are present, and there is good access, does work (like in Maine and Nova Scotia). They are taken under a trapping license. I personally have no problem with the method itself. In Alaska, however, where access issues prevail, and where we also have brown bears, I don't see it ever working as a viable method to take just black bears.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Question

    I guess the piece of this that I don't quite get is this... You're establishing a camp so that the hunters (or predator control people, whatever) are on site 24/7. You've put up bait stations in advance and have noted black bear activity before placing your snare. So, why do we even need the snare? Why not just bring a rifle and sit at the bait station per normal bear hunting procedure? I'm just not seeing where placing the snare and going back to a nearby camp really gets you anything over standard hunting practice. Add in the "by catch" that Bushrat speaks of and this snaring idea seems to be a big step backwards.
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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    i would very much like to hear the opinions of TV321 on this, as he has, at least up until recently been the voice of SFW here on the forum...

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Thumbs down snaring

    I don't think it's a good idea at all. Could lead to a bad public image on this. Plus, the whole brown bear being caught thing. If I was allowed to legally snare black bears where I do my yearly spring black bear baiting, I could promise whoever that I would snare a brown bear or two or three. And what a mess that would be.

    There has to be a better way to kill a bunch of black bears over there.

  7. #7
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default

    Currently, bushrat's concerns are valid. Unfortunately, unless bear snaring is legalized and allowed to become a regular practice, his concerns will always be valid.
    Without the process of learning and responding to the users needs, our free enterprise system, and the ability of us humans to learn, will never have the chance to respond to and overcome the problems br lists.
    I would be happy to see blacks become furbearers and open to trapping seasons. Then time would tell if we can overcome non target catches and other problems.
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  8. #8
    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Question lawsuits coming

    I would expect that this will end up with multiple lawsuits much like aerial predator control.

  9. #9
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default "Bycatch" issues

    I hear you on the incidental take, and I agree that referring to accidentally caught brown bears as "collateral damage" undermines the status brown bears have for most of us. Spraker made a comment very similar to that at the meetings.

    When the Canadian gave the snaring presentation he was asked about incidental take. In his area they have no brown bears, and he said that for whatever reason they don't catch moose in them. Their problem was raccoons. But the raccoons just trip the snare without getting caught in it. Anyway when he was asked about what they do if they catch a bear they did not intend to catch, some guys just pin it to the ground with a plywood shield. Uh... dunno about you, but I don't think I want to attempt that one.

    His recommendation was to avoid using ground snares and just go with a bucket snare mounted on a tree. He thought a brown bear would just swat the bucket off the tree to get at the bait, but a blackie would reach inside and get caught. I'm pretty skeptical about that one, and agree that there's no way to keep a brown bear out of those snares. He also suggested pre-baiting the area and using trail cams to establish what kind of bear was hitting the bait. He said in most cases the bear is caught within 4-6 hours after the trap is set. I could see that tactic used to dramatically thin down the chances of catching a brownie, but it's not going to totally stop it.

    So part of the discussion has to include the chances of catching a brown bear, and what would be done about that. ADFG is saying that by having a representative in camp, they could tranquilize the bear and release it. In cases where the circumstances resulted in the destruction of the brown bear (if it was a sow with cubs), they have added a provision to allow the taking of no more than ten brown bears total by snaring. I gathered that ADFG and the BOG is very sensitive to the issue of catching brown bears because of the status of those bears. But at the same time they recognized that brownies are much more aggressive than black bears, and typically kill both calves, if a cow has twins. Spraker mentioned this, and at the same time said that black bears usually only kill one calf. So if the goal is moose calf survival, I can see why ADFG and the BOG has mixed feelings about this. Brownies kill more calves per bear, but the public won't stand for snaring them.

    One thing that really surprised me was the vote to allow ground snares. I thought they nixed that early on, because of the bycatch issue. But it came back later.

    As to the question someone else asked about why do snaring instead of baiting (where you sit and wait for the bear to return) that's easy. You can put out several snares and go back to camp to wait, then come back in a few hours to check them. But with a bait station you have to be there the whole time. Snaring would probably result in a lot more bears being taken.

    Personally I think the issue creates more problems than it solves. (hey, wait a minute... did I just express a view on this? Maybe it's starting to jell after all...)

    -Mike
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  10. #10

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    Snaring bears is the best thing to come along to Alaska's people since they started shipping up sliced bread. The place is over run with bears and not enough moose to sustain a hunt. So it is only logical to get rid of them, in the cheapest cleanest way for the govt. Simply put, have someone else do it. It is all heap good medicine for us, and we need to ask to have a double dose of it.
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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Cool Snare skills

    I must admit, I'm not experienced in traditional bear snare killing skills. Perhaps I missed it when I scanned this thread, but can either adult or calf moose beome a by-product catch/kill within the snare intended for bears?

    Dennis
    Does this bear snare make my butt look big?

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post
    I must admit, I'm not experienced in traditional bear snare killing skills. Perhaps I missed it when I scanned this thread, but can either adult or calf moose beome a by-product catch/kill within the snare intended for bears?

    Dennis
    Does this bear snare make my butt look big?
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  13. #13
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan
    So part of the discussion has to include the chances of catching a brown bear, and what would be done about that. ADFG is saying that by having a representative in camp, they could tranquilize the bear and release it. In cases where the circumstances resulted in the destruction of the brown bear (if it was a sow with cubs), they have added a provision to allow the taking of no more than ten brown bears total by snaring. I gathered that ADFG and the BOG is very sensitive to the issue of catching brown bears because of the status of those bears. But at the same time they recognized that brownies are much more aggressive than black bears, and typically kill both calves, if a cow has twins. Spraker mentioned this, and at the same time said that black bears usually only kill one calf. So if the goal is moose calf survival, I can see why ADFG and the BOG has mixed feelings about this. Brownies kill more calves per bear, but the public won't stand for snaring them.
    Mike, you are missing the background on some of this and confusing what ADFG does and what the BOG does. The provision you mentioned that was added came from the Board, not ADFG. ADFG does not set hunting regulations, seasons, bag limits, institute predator control programs, waive meat salvage requirements for good healthy bear meat, or allow brown bears to be captured in snares. The Board of Game does all those things.

    The truth is that Department of Fish and Game biologists want nothing to do with this bear snaring program. There is no support from the bottom-up for this. The only support is from the top-down, from the two new "leadership" team ADFG appointees Palin recently put in place, one of them the SFW-Alaska advocate and (former) board member Corey Rossi. It is this new leadership team that rammed all this down the throats of area bios and managers and told them they will get on board and support this.

    I didn't know this until I spoke with several bear biologists, but the way bears are darted/tranquilized varies due to safety concerns for both the bear and the humans involved. The drug they use doesn't put the bear out right off; it takes a few minutes. If the bear is not in a snare the bear typically runs after being darted, overheats, then tries to find the closest source of water, where it can pass out and drown. So the helo pilot and door gunner/darter have to be very skilled to track the bear through trees and quickly land nearby and often they end up having to sling the bear out of the water. There are also legal frameworks that mandate who can legally use tranquilizer drugs and for what purpose, and the Dept must abide by those frameworks which also involve a plan beforehand (which isn't really in place yet).

    The gist is, we don't know yet whether or not ADFG personnel will be permanently stationed at these so-called "experimental" snare/bait camps. I can tell everyone that we don't have enough trained ADFG personnel available to put them out in the field for this, nor do we have the funding to do so. Rossi has all along wanted APHIS (the Dept of Agriculture Plant and Health Inspection Service - the fed pred control agency) personnel to handle pred control in Alaska, so it could be APHIS personnel could do it, or even licensed veterinarians who can administer these drugs...but if that happens then there would be no ADFG oversight, and the whole thing ends up not proving anything cuz the Dept won't really be involved.

    Say a cub brown bear gets caught. Say there really is an experienced ADFG biologist there at the camp with a tranq rifle. Well the last thing that bio wants to do is to walk up on a caught brown bear cub with a tranq rifle in hand knowing momma bear is around. It is just not safe. Would you arm yourself with a weapon that after you shoot the bear the bear is gonna run around for three minutes? Based on what bios told me, the only "safe" way to deal with such a situation would be to try to tranq momma bear from the air, from a helicopter. Doubtful helos will be stationed at every camp. Also there is the matter of bios only able to fly with those on the ADFG charter list, and bios will only do darting operations with experienced pilots who've done it before. Not sure just who all these "volunteer" pilots will be or even what type of helicopters they may use.

    The presentation Serge gave...wasn't the one those who brought him up here really wanted to hear. When Serge recommended ensuring beforehand that bait camp sites weren't being visited by brown bears before any snares were set, well that would end up costing a lot more time and money, and make the program not viable. So what did the Board do with that information? They simply chose to act like it never came out. The new leadership team brought in a black bear snaring expert who basically said that he would not snare black bears in areas where brown bears were present, and that if he did he would only use bucket sets up off the ground. What did the Board do with that information? They allowed ground sets/snares to be used and legalized the "incidental" capture/killing of up to ten brown bears.

  14. #14

    Default

    There is an awful lot of information to the issue, that was not drawn out in the public hearings process, but valid by all accounts and known by members of the BOG. The area also has way too many brown bears, hence the not so to be concerned attitude they took, when it came to incidental takes. They would have gotten too much flak from the local guides, had they directly targeted the browns. These people are doing what is good for the game populations and that runs contrary to some's philosophy, that would otherwise rather see Mother Nature allowed to Run Wild. Gotta look at the big picture. Too many people these days lock themselves into their world can't see the larger aspects. Bottom line, all this discussion will not lead to anyone of us changing one another's mind or position on the matter. Likewise all the discussion during the BOG hearings will not change the members minds or position. It is not difficult at all to figure out, but impossible for some, to accept.
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  16. #16
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default the equipment in question

    ground snare




    Bucket set... ironically it is at traps for kids....
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    Default what happens if.....

    What happens if 10 brown bears have to be destroyed and only 150 black bears have been taken? Is the whole experiment ruined? Will they up the brown bear quota?

    This isn't a very selective method. Why not just up the bag limit for the guys who want to spend the money to travel over there already? If this is to increase the chances of getting a moose for the people who want to hunt moose there, why not hand out moose tags based on how many bears you take to help solve the problem? Take three black bears or four or five, get a moose permit. Then at least those who will benefit helped solve the problem, and those who help solve the problem will benefit.

  18. #18
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default There is no bag limit, Rick

    Under the ongoing control program, with a control permit there is no bag limit on the number of black bears a permittee can take, and also sows with cubs and cubs can be taken. Board of Game also waived meat salvage requirements for spring bears because they felt this "incentive" was needed because most "hunters" were not going to take more than one or two bears if they had to bring back the meat. Gotta love the hypocrisy in saying it's okay to wasted perfectly edible game meat in order to grow more meat of another kind.

    Nearly 500 black bears were taken out of Unit 16 last year under the control program, and also using non-resident guided hunters on Native lands within Unit 16. Another aspect is that a guide can get a control permit to have more bait sites and then bring in more non-resident or resident clients to hunt those sites without a control permit.

    We didn't need bear snaring and helicopter transport to take more black bears.

  19. #19

    Default Bears

    My understanding is that the state is trying to reduce the number of bears( both black and brown) as predators in this GMU.
    I don't understand why they don't produce a special NON-Resident BEAR harvest tag for GMU-16. Which would be included with your Non-resident license FREE when you hunted a game animal in UNIT 16. If you still had to have a guide for brown bears and black bears became a target of chance and a byproduct of every moose or caribou hunt. The state and guides would both benefit as well as the game animal population.
    But, I'm just a layman and BOG has a much better overview.
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  20. #20
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default

    Ronny, there are currently no non-resident moose/caribou hunting opportunities in Unit 16. So including a free Unit 16 bear tag for non-res moose or caribou hunters wouldn't do anything.

    Some have tried to get the resident-must-be-guided regulation for brown/grizzly bear waived in areas where bears are thought to be overpopulated, but the guide industry won't allow that to happen.

    If we did waive the reg mandating a non-resident to be guided for brown/grizzly bears in units like this, you can bet a lot of non-residents would jump at the opportunity and we'd have a lot more bears taken, including black bears.

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