Comments requestd on Bear Baiting Ban in National Preserves in AK

cdubbin

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The brown bear numbers on the Kenai are a good example of how their numbers increase when hunting opportunity is reduced or eliminated. Used to have all kinds of black bears out north. Now all we see in person and on game cams is Brownies.
10 years ago, there was well over 100 registered bait stations in Unit 15A...now, I wonder where all those black bear went to? Lol...
 

Kenaimike

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10 years ago, there was well over 100 registered bait stations in Unit 15A...now, I wonder where all those black bear went to? Lol...
And yet hunter-effect (“harvest” numbers) are fairly constant.
The difference is black bears being killed by Brownies.
 

cdubbin

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And yet hunter-effect (“harvest” numbers) are fairly constant.
The difference is black bears being killed by Brownies.
As far as I know, ADFG has not conducted an official survey of the black bear population on the Kenai Peninsula, they do just rely on harvest reporting for an estimate...do you have a study you could share here that shows the number of black bears preyed on by brown bears?
 

SmokeRoss

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10 years ago, there was well over 100 registered bait stations in Unit 15A...now, I wonder where all those black bear went to? Lol...
The brown bears ate them. It's been going on for years. In the 80's and early 90's we were covered up with black bears out north. Then came the moratorium on brown bears. Guess what happened to brown bear numbers? Sky rocketed. At the same time black bear numbers plummeted. Sure, some of that was due to hunting of black bears, but the 2 really don't live well together. My trail cams went from almost all black bear pics to almost exclusively brown. Oh, and after shutting down the brown bear hunting, we almost never saw a surviving moose calf in the Gray Cliff, Moose Point area. At least now we have limited brown bear hunting by registration tags. Not enough IMO though.
 

SmokeRoss

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Which National Preserve on the Kenai Peninsula would this be applicable to?
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Don't forget that a large part of what is included in that out north has a WILDERNESS designation.
 

iofthetaiga

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Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Don't forget that a large part of what is included in that out north has a WILDERNESS designation.
Nah. You're confusing different agencies. NPS doesn't administer FWS Refuge lands. The management plan in question pertains to NPS Preserves.
 

cdubbin

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The brown bears ate them. It's been going on for years. In the 80's and early 90's we were covered up with black bears out north. Then came the moratorium on brown bears. Guess what happened to brown bear numbers? Sky rocketed. At the same time black bear numbers plummeted. Sure, some of that was due to hunting of black bears, but the 2 really don't live well together. My trail cams went from almost all black bear pics to almost exclusively brown. Oh, and after shutting down the brown bear hunting, we almost never saw a surviving moose calf in the Gray Cliff, Moose Point area. At least now we have limited brown bear hunting by registration tags. Not enough IMO though.
ADFG survey-inventory reports for 2013 estimated a population of about 500 brown bears and 4,000 black bears for the Kenai Peninsula...this was just after the registration hunt was implemented, and brown bear numbers were rather high. No doubt they're lower now...
 

4merguide

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ADFG survey-inventory reports for 2013 estimated a population of about 500 brown bears and 4,000 black bears for the Kenai Peninsula...this was just after the registration hunt was implemented, and brown bear numbers were rather high. No doubt they're lower now...
When it comes to bears, I take those surveys with a pretty good-sized grain of salt. I mean it's not like counting sheep where all you have to do is look for white spots on a mountain. Nor is it like counting moose standing out in the middle of a swamp or wide-open hillsides. You know where bears usually hang out. Except for a few permits, with brown bear hunting being closed for a very long time despite the public complaining that there were too many brownies, they still insisted that there were very few on the Kenai. Still public complaints kept coming in. The moose trophy area between Tustumena and Skilak went to sh*t. Local hardcore moose hunters that had been hunting up there for years kept telling F&G that it was overrun by brownies. Still F&G wouldn't budge. It wasn't until a few bruisers came walking into downtown Soldotna in the middle of the day that they decided to change their position. Didn't take long after that to get a brownie registration hunt.
 

NorcalBob

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Nah. You're confusing different agencies. NPS doesn't administer FWS Refuge lands. The management plan in question pertains to NPS Preserves.
Yep. This proposal has NO impact on the KNWR. It's not a NPS Preserve.
 

cdubbin

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When it comes to bears, I take those surveys with a pretty good-sized grain of salt. I mean it's not like counting sheep where all you have to do is look for white spots on a mountain. Nor is it like counting moose standing out in the middle of a swamp or wide-open hillsides. You know where bears usually hang out. Except for a few permits, with brown bear hunting being closed for a very long time despite the public complaining that there were too many brownies, they still insisted that there were very few on the Kenai. Still public complaints kept coming in. The moose trophy area between Tustumena and Skilak went to sh*t. Local hardcore moose hunters that had been hunting up there for years kept telling F&G that it was overrun by brownies. Still F&G wouldn't budge. It wasn't until a few bruisers came walking into downtown Soldotna in the middle of the day that they decided to change their position. Didn't take long after that to get a brownie registration hunt.
I hear you about the grain of salt...the departmental population estimates are not an exact science, but they're light-years beyond anything we can show through personal anecdotes. In the case of Kenai brown bears, FWS conducted a DNA mark-and-recapture study to get a density estimate, then extrapolated that number to all 'suitable' habitat on the Peninsula...
 

SmokeRoss

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When it comes to bears, I take those surveys with a pretty good-sized grain of salt. I mean it's not like counting sheep where all you have to do is look for white spots on a mountain. Nor is it like counting moose standing out in the middle of a swamp or wide-open hillsides. You know where bears usually hang out. Except for a few permits, with brown bear hunting being closed for a very long time despite the public complaining that there were too many brownies, they still insisted that there were very few on the Kenai. Still public complaints kept coming in. The moose trophy area between Tustumena and Skilak went to sh*t. Local hardcore moose hunters that had been hunting up there for years kept telling F&G that it was overrun by brownies. Still F&G wouldn't budge. It wasn't until a few bruisers came walking into downtown Soldotna in the middle of the day that they decided to change their position. Didn't take long after that to get a brownie registration hunt.
Exactly. My cousin had a career with DNR in the lower 48. They continually undercounted the grizzly population in his area. He convinced them to set up a reporting line with an 800 number and a website where people could post comments and photos. It immediately became obvious there were way more grizzlies than thought when sightings and descriptions came in on the 800 line and pics on the website.
 

4merguide

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Exactly. My cousin had a career with DNR in the lower 48. They continually undercounted the grizzly population in his area. He convinced them to set up a reporting line with an 800 number and a website where people could post comments and photos. It immediately became obvious there were way more grizzlies than thought when sightings and descriptions came in on the 800 line and pics on the website.
Seems obvious that an 800# was an excellent idea. People live all over in bear habitat. F&G needs to pay more attention to what they have to say.
 

4merguide

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. In the case of Kenai brown bears, FWS conducted a DNA mark-and-recapture study to get a density estimate, then extrapolated that number to all 'suitable' habitat on the Peninsula...
Yes, I know of that method as well, and I have my doubts about it too. I just don’t know about taking a handful of bears, and “extrapolating” from them to determine an entire population. I’m not bad mouthing them as they have to do something. I just feel that they need to listen to the people as well.
 

SmokeRoss

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Seems obvious that an 800# was an excellent idea. People live all over in bear habitat. F&G needs to pay more attention to what they have to say.
But they know it ALL. Just ask, they'll tell you.

My cousin said the first week the number was available, it was obvious bear numbers were way higher than the 'authorities' thought. Descriptions varied so much, numbers of bears together, locations, sows with cubs, boars, coloring, size, age, some with collars, injuries, you name it.
 

SmokeRoss

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Yes, I know of that method as well, and I have my doubts about it too. I just don’t know about taking a handful of bears, and “extrapolating” from them to determine an entire population. I’m not bad mouthing them as they have to do something. I just feel that they need to listen to the people as well.
Lots of people have game cameras same as me. When you get photos of multiple bears on your cameras in a short time and they all look different, you know somethings going on. I have had groups (herds? lol) of brownies cruise past my cameras, and I'm not talking sows with cubs. Had a friend with a cabin near mine that watched 5 different brown bears cross his property close to his cabin in just a few hours. Extrapolate that.
 

Daveinthebush

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Two years ago, last day of the season. I had twelve different bears at my stand at once. All within my sight. Two sows with triplets, three boars and a two year old. I passed. Too busy in there to do any skinning.
 

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