Letter: New hunting regs are despicable

November 5, 2013 

As a longtime Alaska bear biologist and Game Board member, recently adopted Kenai Peninsula brown bear hunting regulations are shocking, sad and unbelievable to me. These include increased bag limit, substantially longer season, allowing bait station killing, no limit on number taken in 2013, and no limit on number of females taken in 2014. Bears are difficult to census, have a low reproductive rate, and with these regulations, the population is not sustainable. Habitat condition, not predation on calves, is the primary regulator of ungulate populations.

Aesthetics and respect for the species and for individual animals is another concern. It is simply wrong to kill bears at rancid cooking oil bait from a tree stand. What a way to introduce young persons to hunting. Brown bear meat is rarely consumed but skins have trophy value. Even skins will be wasted with an increased bag limit producing unprime skins. We cannot legislate ethical hunting behavior and respect, but should set standards through regulations.

The Kenai National Refuge hunting closure is a right response.

— Jack Lentfer



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