Fellow hunters and trappers,
Our own Department of Fish & Game has recommended to legalize black bear trapping (using foot snares) in several areas of the state, open to anyone who purchases a trapping license. This would be done outside any formal bear control plan.
These new bear trapping regulations will be heard at the upcoming October 8-12 Board of Game meeting in Anchorage, that was originally supposed to only be an emergency meeting to discuss the Nelchina caribou allocation issue.
You will likely be reading much more about this in the weeks ahead. Alaska Backcountry Hunters strongly opposes bear trapping in Alaska. I hope many of you will join us in opposing any bear trapping seasons with written comments to the Board and showing up at the meeting to sign up and testify as well.
The Dept proposal can be read here:
It begins on page 50 of that pdf file, is proposal #36
Alaska would be the only place in North America where it's legal trap black bears where grizzly bears are also present. To legalize "black bear" trapping is essentially to also legalize grizzly bear trapping. It is impossible to only catch black bears.
Also I have heard there is a push as well to allow non-residents to trap bears as a part of this, and for guides to be able to have foot-snare stations for clients.
Beyond that, everywhere else black bears are legally snared (Maine and a few Canadian provinces), those places have determined that the only "ethical" way to do it is to mandate that the trapper must check the snares every 24 hours. The Department recommends going to a 48 hour minimum check time.
Now I'm a longtime and current trapper, and I certainly have nothing against trapping, but I simply do not want to see this happen in Alaska, to allow the trapping of bears outside a formal predation control plan.
This is being pushed by the governor's office and ADFG leadership, Pat Valkenburg and Corey Rossi. I have not spoken to one manager or biologist within the Dept who agrees with this or supports it. It is being rammed down their throats. It is wrong imo what is going on, will hurt the reputation and integrity of the Dept, and this doesn't really help hunters and trappers in how the public perceives us.
I will post more info on this down the line, busy getting ready for moose hunting here. The way this whole thing went down, to not allow public proposals to be submitted (AK BHA submitted a proposal of our own on bear trapping regs, but it was denied under the claim that the "call for proposals" for this meeting was specific to Nelchina caribou issue) after we were notified of this "agenda change request," to do all this during the time when most hunters are afield and will be afield, and when Advisory Committees can't meet...well it all stinks to high heaven in my book. It is a subversion of our public process. For the first time ever the Board will consider legalizing bear trapping in Alaska, yet this is how it's being done?
I have attached the proposal we sent in, that was rejected, that has much more info and data. Please read it and join with me to oppose this with written comments and attendance at the October meeting.