Brown bear hunting on refuge closed

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday announced a temporary closure of sport hunting of brown bears on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The closure is effective Sept. 1 through May 31, 2015.

According to a press release from the refuge, the closure is being implemented as a resource protection measure and to ensure consistency with refuge purposes.

The Fish and Wildlife Service believes that documented levels of human-caused mortality of brown bears in 2014, combined with those of recent years, are causing the Kenai brown bear population to decline. Allowing additional mortality through sport hunting on the refuge would conflict with its statutory purposes to conserve all wildlife in their natural diversity and to provide opportunity for visitors to hunt, view and photograph wildlife, according to the refuge release.

Notice of the temporary closure and maps will be posted throughout the refuge. Hunters may also contact the refuge office at 907-262-7021 for information. Additional information is available at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/kenai.

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