HOPE, AK. area BEAR Forecast for 2011
First: I predict more bears will exit the dens earlier than normal. We have very little snow this winter, with zero" to 5" currently at sea level. Normal would be 24" to 60" at sea level in early March.
Yes, winter is not fully over, but green vegetation will arrive early, first along the beach & then along the Hwy.
Second: There was last year clearly reduced sightings of Black Bears in the area, most likely do to increased hunting pressure, however I can NOT dismiss that predation by the Brown Bears could have contributed to this, I don't know this to be a fact, just a maybe.
This is very unscientific, but just based on the paw print I encountered last year while doing my three to five mile hikes, I would guess that now the Brown Bears are 55% of the bear population. And as an aerial survey might show more Black Bears spotted, I would submit that the Brown Bears are harder to see, and more nocturnal. (Slightly)
This conclusion is supported by bear baiter's cameras. And although I don't bait bears I do enjoy feed-back from several who do in this area.
Just a side note: The monster Brown Bear that was here all summer 2008 was not seen nor was a track seen in 2009 or 2010. He was or is a true monarch.
Good hunting, Men & Ladies.
Please Note: I am NOT a biologist, nor do I portray a biologist on TV.