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Thread: Ak Hunting News: McNeil River Area Bear Hunting Issue Heats Up Again

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    Arrow Ak Hunting News: McNeil River Area Bear Hunting Issue Heats Up Again

    This news clip is from Alaska Hunting News. Discussion is welcome, but these robot generated news threads are not monitored by the webmaster.

    Where to draw the no-hunting boundary lines around the McNeil River brown bear viewing area are an issue again.

    The Alaska Board of Game reduced the size of the no-hunting zone in a previous cycle, but delayed the actual opening for one more board meeting cycle to allow additional discussion on the subject.

    The Anchorage Daily News printed an Associated Press article on the subject today. AP writer Mary Pemberton wrote the following, which summarizes the issue:

    "If nothing changes, state lands used by the bears near the 114,400-acre sanctuary in Southwest Alaska will be open to hunting as of July 1, clearing the way for a fall hunt.

    Opponents say it's not sporting to hunt the McNeil River bears, which are accustomed to humans and routinely come to within 10 or 15 feet of small groups of bear viewers allowed into the sanctuary each summer. Supporters say the bears are fair game when they wander outside the sanctuary."

    Read the entire article in the Anchorage Daily News >>>


    We welcome news tips that are useful to the community. Please send tips and links to complete stories by email to webmaster@outdoorsdirectory.com.

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    After receiving a permit to visit McNeil River on three different occassions and seeing how those bears are habituated with people no hunter worth a plug nickle could ever shoot one of those brownies.
    There would be zero sport involved. It would be like going to the Anchorage Zoo and shooting one.
    Tennessee

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    Hummm, lotta good information there from both sides of the fence, i agree with both sides and disgree with both sides.
    I know what Arno is saying i've fished with bears on the rivers in july 20 yards away and hunted them in the mountians in august and they are all just as spooky as they ever could be. even though they fish with us part of the year. gotta remember mcneil, correct me here, has one platform to view from? the bears are around the people in that one spot. i'd be interested to see a video of someone walking around out there with the bears, just to see how they acted with a person not in their "special area".

    a fishing bear thats habituated to people is not the same bear off the stream i'll agree with that 110%.
    Should we/do we need to hunt them over there, no i don't think so. Like APHA says, not worth the flak, plenty of bear hunting areas. Leave them alone and every now and then toss a treadwell to them...keep everyone happy.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Keep it closed-

    It's complicated, but I support the idea of keeping it closed. We don't need the bad press.

    -Mike
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    Default A no-brainer

    Here's the deal -

    Our Board of Game voted 5-2 to open the Kamishak special use area between McNeil and Katmai to bear hunting. Mike Fleagle, chairman of the BOG at the time, voted against opening the area to bear hunts, and said that opening this area to bear hunting was "going to anger a lot of people for very little benefit."

    What Fleagle said sums it up exactly for me...it's just a black eye really on hunters and hunting. The fact the Alaska Outdoor Council supports it is of no surprise; they've supported things recently that make no sense and go against the majority of what hunters want. 78% of Alaska hunters OPPOSE opening the area to bear hunting, including the APHA ( our guide assn.), the org I co-chair (Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers), and even the hard-core conservative hunters you find on most internet hunting forums.

    Read away, and you'll see that most hunters think that opening the area to bear hunting is ridiculous and unnecessary, and that this is just one of those "principle" things that we are better to stay away from. If there is one area in THE ENTIRE WORLD that gets more publicity for bear-viewing than McNeil, and the bears who are famous (for good or ill) there, I don't know of it. And while some hunters are quick to say "screw" what non-hunters think of "us," the bears can be harvested in this area by fair-chase standards and aren't really habituated...again I bring you back to the fact that the overwhelming majority of hunters oppose opening this area to the very limited amount of bear harvests (9 bears, from the stats I've read) that would be allowed.

    It's sad how we go to these extremes. This is going to get a lot of publicity. The way I see it, if hunters on the whole oppose opening the area to bear hunting, via comments to the BOG and comments to whatever sportsman's org you might belong to (to join in this opposition), then we will come out ahead in the long run.

    It's a no-brainer, really. Keep the area closed to bear hunting.


  6. #6

    Default Another "bad idea" vote

    I must agree with all above. Just a bad idea. No reason to open this area up. Those bears are worth more alive than dead.

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    I'm maybe the only one who thinks not only should the McNeil be open to bear hunting, I'm for the WHOLE refuge be open for hunting. Let the tourists go somewhere else to watch bears fishing. IMO those bears shouldn't be habituated to humans like that. Disagree with me if you wish, thats whats good for the bears. So they kill a few bears, big deal, the population can handle it.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Note to Mark Richards-

    Mark,

    Thanks for posting on this. You know I am no political activist, but I sure with the AOC would get their act together on this one. I am really disappointed that they're taking this position. Perhaps you are correct that the public process will give hunters a chance to be heard...

    Will BHA be testifying at the BOG on this?

    Regards,

    -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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    Default

    How many bears are we talkin' here? Half-dozen? Its not worth the bad press. However, a boundary is a boundary. On KTUU (ch 2) they said this was just to push the feds into a land swap to open more bear hunting opportunities on the Bristol Bay side of the Peninsula.

    Tim

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    Default will send in written comments

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan
    Will BHA be testifying at the BOG on this?
    Mike, Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is sending in written comments to the Board on this proposal, and a few others, but we won't have a representative there in person this time.

    Tim is also right, below, in that part of the idea behind this originally was to force the land swap, or speed it up, but not many believed this would accomplish that goal, and it hasn't.

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    Member Ken R's Avatar
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    Default ???

    I disagree that this is a slam dunk. I believe that there will be lots of bad press initially, but it will blow over (faster than the aerial wolf hunting I hope). In the long run, it will set precedence that Refuge boundaries are not mobile. Take Denali for example, Denali is a huge place, but there are hunting buffers placed around it to protect a pack of wolves that pass through a particular drainage.
    Alaska is a big place, but every buffer zone created is shrinking Alaska's hunting areas. People who don't hunt in the lesser 48 don't see the shrinking effect as much as people who hunt outside on a regular basis. The days of limited entry drawings and limited access are coming to Alaska--maybe not today, but most of us will see it in our lifetime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskajim View Post
    Let the tourists go somewhere else to watch bears fishing.
    Where should the tourists go, Jim? Where else is there a place to safely watch bears feeding on salmon in any kind of numbers? Yeah, you might see them from time to time on the Russian (though these bears rarely fish when the pickin's off stringers are so easy) or other salmon streams, but there is nothing else that remotely compares to McNeil and Brooks.

    The best way to find ourselves with increasing restrictions and regulations is to take a combative stance towards the public. If we don't acquiesce to the needs and desires of non-hunters from time to time, we'll find ourselves on the losing end of legislation and ballot box propositions more and more frequently.

    So little upside, so great of a downside. I just don't get it.

    -Brian
    Last edited by Brian M; 02-13-2007 at 10:34.

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    if you look at mcneil and look all around it, several hundred miles south, couple hundred west, several hundred to the north..why do we need to hunt that little spot? its not like we don't have hunting oppotunities elsewhere with great bears in it.
    So why should we take that chance from the folks who want to visit mcneil...
    let then view them else where....like BM said...WHERE?? brooks camp? oh wow. your generosity is killing me.
    We have more opportunity to hunt bears than people do to view them in a undsturbed location, its tightly regulated has worked well for years and until someone gets their leg humped its gonna remain as the meca for bear viewing.
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  14. #14

    Default Principles

    Should we not allow hunting on the whole northern peninsula area because the bear might go to Mcniel River? We might have "plenty of hunting opportunities" right now but if we don't stake out the boundaries of "off-limits" areas they will just spread - see the "buffer" around Denali NP.
    I submit that the "experience" people have at McNeil River is the result of the opportunity for feeding for the bears, not that they are "habituated" to people. It is the feeding opportunity that is unique, not the animals. There is no place other than these feeding areas where bears will tolerate each other - and people. (and not all the time either - see Treadwell)
    Keep the hunts open.
    Mike
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    I disagree with those that say no hunting without jurisdictional reasoning. I think this sets a terrible precedent. Boundaries are boundaries. Since the National Park bears and sheep don't get hunted, should we not hunt those animals in the Preserve or the State lands or Forest lands adjacent? If the bears in the Sanctuary need more lands to be protected, then the Sanctuary size should be increased. I don't like the idea of buffer zones. A buffer zone around the sanctuary is no different than a buffer zone around Denali or the Wrangells or Gates of the Arctic.

    With so many "feel good" politicians in Washington these days, I think we have to be very diligent about setting any kind of example, especially on a voluntary basis on State lands. Be very careful of anything can set a precedent folks, even if the intentions are good. The greater outcome can be very damaging.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    After receiving a permit to visit McNeil River on three different occassions and seeing how those bears are habituated with people no hunter worth a plug nickle could ever shoot one of those brownies.
    There would be zero sport involved. It would be like going to the Anchorage Zoo and shooting one.
    Kinda like black bear baiting?
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    come on powdermonkey don't be stupid, they don't allow dog food at mcneil..geez
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  18. #18

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    While it's not been discussed openly there's a motive in the McNeil story. There's some federal land in the King Salmon area that the state wants to swap for the Kamishak land but the PS isn't responding well to normal techniques.

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    politics, something for something, give and take it seems everything has a hidden motive. using those bears as weight. i worked for a guide once he used to say if people would just send us money and never show up, this woudl be the greatest job ever. he was right, its amazing what you learn when you start to deal with more and more people.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Kinda like black bear baiting?
    Ok baiting might be easier
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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