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Thread: Should AK allow limited baiting of brown bears?

  1. #1
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default Should AK allow limited baiting of brown bears?

    Forgive the pun, but bear with me for a minute...

    This is my first year baiting along the Hope Road though I'm familiar with the area. I think we can all agree that the Hope Road corridor is popular because it's only an hour or so from Anchorage, sparsely populated (with people) and it holds bears year in and year out. It also supports fairly high amount of recreational traffic besides hunting, and if the annecdotal evidence (in the form of trail cam pics posted by forum members) holds true then the brown bear population on the Kenai is far better off than ADF&G claims.

    I ask the question because I see the potential for growing bear-human conflicts. Given that there is a high concentration of black bear bait stations in this corridor, and that brown bears are off limits to baiters are we not habituating these bears, if only seasonally to associate human activity with food?

    Black bears, by contrast, learn to become bait wary as they age because they are hunted but brown bears have no such negative association. For them spring baiting season is a free lunch. In the case of a place like the Hope Road, legal baiting activity is possibly drawing and/or holding browns in an area with a resident human population that spikes as the bears become active again. I don't know the history of human-brown bear conflicts in this area so I have no knowledge if there is even a problem or if baiting is affecting it.

    Of course, this same line of reasoning could be used as justification for suspending baiting in this area but given the social and political pressure that would ensue this is an unlikely outcome IMO.

    Brown bears are already limited to a drawing permit GMU 7 as it is. According to ADF&G's harvest data no brown bears were taken in 2008 and only 1 was taken in 2007, and except for 1 bear in '04 there are no reports for '06-'01 (closed season?). I'm assuming here that a drop in harvest rates was a factor in the BOG's decision to limit brown bear hunting.

    Part of what I'm wondering is if years of baiting hasn't created an artificial shift in denning patterns, and in turn created a localized concentration of brown bears in the Hope Road area that are essentially unhuntable? I say unhuntable because of the "...knows, or should know" blurb in the regs regarding prohibiting the taking of brown bears within 1/2 mile of a bait station. Should know? That's pretty open to interpretation. As the regs are currently written a tag holder would be asking for a fine for attempting to hunt anywhere along the Hope road.

    My thoughts on considering baiting as a legal means for taking brown bears is as follows:

    Negative reinforcement: habituate browns bears to getting hunted over bait.
    Baiting fits the terrain: northern GMU 7 is climax coastal forest and not really conducive to spot and stalk.
    As for the moral opposition, most brown bear hunting is related to food sources anyway.
    Make it a drawing permit. Assume a high degree of success and limit tag numbers accordingly.

    Given the high number of big boars caught on film so far this season, selecting for big males could realistically be done this way.

    As always, I appreciate your thoughts
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    How would a hunter that didn't own the bait station know he was with-in a 1/2 mile of it. Its easy to know you are with-in a 1/2 mile of the town dump but not someone elses bait station. I see nothing wrong with culling out dump bears if it can be done safely and aproved

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    How would a hunter that didn't own the bait station know he was with-in a 1/2 mile of it. Its easy to know you are with-in a 1/2 mile of the town dump but not someone elses bait station. I see nothing wrong with culling out dump bears if it can be done safely and approved

    We do NOT have a Dump any longer, just huge solid waste transfer containers that are bear and coyote proof, assuming people close the bear proof doors.

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    It's illegal to hunt brown bear within 1/2 a mile of a garbage dump or landfill. I don't know the logic behind it though, unless it is the proximity to people, they are just eating no different than taking off a salmon stream.


    As far as baiting them I'm not sure but, I think it should be legal to take one on a black bear station if it is in season and a legal bear.
    Chuck

  5. #5

    Thumbs up

    Alaskan's should be able to bait, snare and trap them. Someone is going to get killed this year by a Brown Bear.
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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Maybe a once every 5 years thing? Put it in the permit system and draw a tag?

    I would only support in certain areas. Definetely NOT in areas of where trophy bears exist (Kodiak, the peninsula). Areas like the Kenai or the Valley or up in Delta/Tok.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pike_palace View Post
    Maybe a once every 5 years thing? Put it in the permit system and draw a tag?

    I would only support in certain areas. Definetely NOT in areas of where trophy bears exist (Kodiak, the peninsula). Areas like the Kenai or the Valley or up in Delta/Tok.
    This was my thinking as well. Not statewide , but limited to selected areas near towns, with healthy or growing and otherwise inaccessible populations
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Baiting Brown Bears?

    No.
    (My answer to the original question asked.)

    I appreciate your question,

    dennis

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default No, Alaska should not allow limited baiting of brown/grizzlies

    Erik,

    You bring up some interesting points that can lead to valid arguments why baiting should not even be allowed in certain places <grin>.

    I don't personally want to see legalization of brown bear/grizzly baiting in any area. I think if that were to happen we'd have real conservation concerns for those bears. I suppose an allocation cap could be instituted to prevent overharvests, whereby after x number of grizz were taken over bait, no more harvests were allowed. Also, targeting the large mature boars can lead to sex/age ratio skewing that can actually produce more bears and cause more ungulate predation.

    But the other thing is, baiting of brown bears/grizzlies will lead to diminished opportunity for others who want to take a bear by other means, or during hunting season, and would also diminish nonresident guided opportunity.

    I do think brown bears/grizz are becoming habituated in some areas to this human source of food. Just makes sense that would be so, they are intelligent animals with long memories of where food can be found at various times of the year. I've heard various talk from those in the know that certain bait feed doesn't attact brown bears/grizz, and I think the state should study that and maybe look at changing regs so baiters use something that is more applicable to just black bears.

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    Just a matter of time. Like it or not it going to happen with the predator control are state has taking a stand on. Just like anyother specail hunt it with be watched and when they meet the numbers it will close.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Erik,

    "...Also, targeting the large mature boars can lead to sex/age ratio skewing that can actually produce more bears and cause more ungulate predation..."
    Certainly has been a lot of speculation about the possible increased survival of cubs if large males are targeted. Was not aware that the concept had been demonstrated as valid. Thanks for the "heads up". Who and/or what study finally demonstrated targeting males does increase cub survival? (Assumed you meant "survival" and not initial cub production.)
    Thank you
    Joe (Ak)

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    I think it is heck of a lot harder to even try to take a Griz over bait... a person sure wont be using the same tactics as black bears... those are some incredibly smart animals especially as they reach adulthood they KNOW your there..

    rather then allowing them taken over bait i would rather see a few other changes occur first..

    loosen up bag limits and seasons so that those that would take them can...

    remove guide requirements for grizz in some areas to encourage non resident participation in predator control areas



    the thoughts for 1 in 4 years or 1 in 5 years are good ideas but create book keeping nightmares for ADFG folks to keep track of you... many in the Dept would rather loose and arm then deal with the 1in 4 rule again seems folks can not keep track of when they shot a critters and are always on the phone asking when they can again...

    the current BOG has a policy against allowing baiting of grizz and browns except under strict permit... and that was allowed for wheel chair bound folks to be able to take one under permit of a special program.. it will take several years and many new appointments before this will even be considered at the BOG I.M.O.
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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wantj43
    Certainly has been a lot of speculation about the possible increased survival of cubs if large males are targeted. Was not aware that the concept had been demonstrated as valid. Thanks for the "heads up". Who and/or what study finally demonstrated targeting males does increase cub survival? (Assumed you meant "survival" and not initial cub production.)
    Biologists have gone round and round on this one, and there are various studies that tend to validate or bebunk this concept. But it has to do at just where a bear population is at, whether it's at or near carrying capacity or below, already exploited for male-biased hunting etc.

    Sterling Miller over the years wrote quite a bit on it, and leaned toward invalidating it. Some of the studies were inconclusive either way. I was able to track down one earlier paper by Miller et al available without a jstor account, Effects of hunting on brown bear cub survival and litter size in Alaska:
    http://www.bearsmart.com/docs/miller...rvivorship.pdf

    If you read the above report, toward the close it speaks to cub survivorship in other parts of Alaska, and it says, "Like our Susitna studies, high cub suvivorship was also found in other hunted brown bear populations in interior Alaska. Survivorship was 87&#37; in the Noatak region...subjected to moderate male-biased hunting pressure. High cub suvivorship was also found in a heavily hunted populations in the northcentral Alaska range. The hunted Noatak and northcentral Alaska Range populations both had higher cub survivorship than the unhunted Denali population (34%). "

    The above gives one impression, whereas at the bottom of that page in speaking to mgmt implications it says: "In Alaska, increased hunting pressure did not decrease cub survivorship."

    But in the closing page it clarifies this, relating how it has to do with where a bear population is at in tems of K: "Managers of exploited bear populations should be cautious and explicit about including density dependent relationships in their demographic models for bear populations below carrying capacity. Our results support the inclusion of density-dependent reductions in cub survivorship as bear populations reach carrying capacity." [my emphasis]

    So there you have it Joe <grin>.
    Best,

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post

    So there you have it Joe <grin>.
    Best,
    "...We found no evidence that removal of adult male bears by hunters reduced cub survival or litter
    size. For populations below carrying capacity, convincing evidence is lacking for density dependent
    effects on cub survivorship or litter size..."

    The above quotation is from the abstract of the paper you cite.
    Not certain about the intent of your original posting, however, I see nothing in the paper you have cited that supports the speculation about the targeting of mature males increasing survival or initial increase of cub production.
    I certainly have reservations (concerns) about the baiting of grizzlies (browns). They are exactly that, concerns, not a "license" to "cherry pick" from studies to bolster my point of view.
    I'm well aware that though research may not confirm the possible affect of the removal or targeting of mature males on cub survival on cub productivity or survival, neither should be excluded.
    Joe (Ak)

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post


    But the other thing is, baiting of brown bears/grizzlies will lead to diminished opportunity for others who want to take a bear by other means, or during hunting season, and would also diminish nonresident guided opportunity.
    This quote blows me away, Mark. There's that "opportunity" word again. You and Dave are using it quite a bit lately. Did the BHA send you 2 to a training course on that word?

    So what your saying above is that baiters "take" opportunity from other hunters. Why do baiters have less right to hunting opportunity, Mark? Is the spot and stalk guy MORE entitled to a brown bear than the baiter? If so, would that hold true for other species? Would say a bowhunter be more entitled than a rifle hunter?

    In the 2nd part of the above quote, your bemoaning the loss of NON RES opportunity to RES baiters. HUH? How hypocritical! On a different thread on this same forum, your bemoaning a guide who testifies at a BoG meeting against increasing RES opportunity for sheep. Who do you favor, Mark?

    I think Joe's use of the word(s) "cherry picking" is quite appropriate here.
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  16. #16

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    I think we should have a permit drawing to take a selected number of bears with a $200 drawing fee. $100 would be refunded to the losers. Only the winners can take a bear. I am fairly certain that at least 1000 peoplle would chance it and at the minimum thats 100k for ADFG. I think in most units we could do 2 -3 bears easily. so the potential is close to 1 million dollars.

    If you allowed those winners to only participate 1 bear every 5 years more have the opportunity.

    Right now in unit 7 there is an abundance of browns and I thnk Alaskans rather than outsiders being guided should have first right to the resource.

    Personally if we did away with the guide requirement more browns would be hunted more money spent in the state for the hunt and more moose that the bears aren't eating leading to more opportunity for both Alaskans and non residents.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default twisting my words...again

    First off, to Joe: I think this written-word format is not working Joe in getting points across. I posted that Miller et al paper agreeing with your earlier comments, and said in fact that Miller had written in the past invalidating the density dependent position others had re harvesting mostly male brown bear boars led to an increase in cub survival. I wasn't cherry picking anything, but pointing out that it also had to do with where a bear population was as far as abundance when it was exploited.

    Mike, martentrapper, the question was about support for brown bear baiting, not baiting black bears. I never said that baiting black bears takes away opportunity from others. But I do believe that if we were to start baiting brown bears it would take away opportunity for others, including guided nonresidents.

    Regarding your claim of hypocrisy, give it a break Mike, please. It's highly likely imo that if baiting of brown bears was ever allowed that we'd quickly get into a conservation situation whereby areas could go draw only or all other opportunities were very limited. That's my take, not sure what yours is, but I'd be interested in hearing that rather than you just wanting to stir the pot and make wild irrational claims.

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    First off, to Joe: I think this written-word format is not working Joe in getting points across. I posted that Miller et al paper agreeing with your earlier comments, and said in fact that Miller had written in the past invalidating the density dependent position others had re harvesting mostly male brown bear boars led to an increase in cub survival. I wasn't cherry picking anything, but pointing out that it also had to do with where a bear population was as far as abundance when it was exploited.

    Mike, martentrapper, the question was about support for brown bear baiting, not baiting black bears. I never said that baiting black bears takes away opportunity from others. But I do believe that if we were to start baiting brown bears it would take away opportunity for others, including guided nonresidents.

    Regarding your claim of hypocrisy, give it a break Mike, please. It's highly likely imo that if baiting of brown bears was ever allowed that we'd quickly get into a conservation situation whereby areas could go draw only or all other opportunities were very limited. That's my take, not sure what yours is, but I'd be interested in hearing that rather than you just wanting to stir the pot and make wild irrational claims.
    Mark,

    I think you been out in the bush too long, bud. I can't help but shake my head at most of the stuff you post. Insane.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Thanks Matt!

    Matt, just wanted to thank you for the rational and intelligent adult input as to your take on what I post here. Hope you're having a good summer there.
    Allbest,

  20. #20
    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Just posting it how I see/read it, that's all.

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