With 11 confirmed deaths of reproductive-age grizzly sows, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has closed both a drawing and registration permit brown bear hunt on the Kenai Peninsula until Oct. 25.
According to the Peninsula Clarion, biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency order earlier this week. The department's wildlife managers established a goal of 10 sow deaths earlier this year.
"By delaying the hunt until Oct. 25 . . . we anticipate some of those animals will be in the den already, and so they won't be available for harvest," Jeff Selinger, Kenai area wildlife biologist, told the Clarion. Eleven deaths do not, however, close the season for the year, Selinger noted.
Back in January, the state Board of Game voted to enact a three-year running average to manage how many reproductive-age female brown bears are killed, according to Ted Spraker, acting chairman of the board.
A three-year running average, which Fish and Game is just now enacting, allows a greater margin of error in how many reproductive-age female grizzlies are killed during an individual hunting season, Selinger said, with a total of 30 sow deaths permitted over a three-year period.
Last year, Selinger said hunters killed six reproductive-age female brown bears; the year before that, he said they killed five.
That leaves 19 reproductive-age female bears available this year, giving hunters more opportunity this season to harvest more bears later this month.