Kenai Peninsula brown bear season canceled

Posted: Sunday, September 29, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The fall brown bear hunting season on the Kenai Peninsula will close again this year because too many sows died in traffic accidents and self-defense shootings.

An emergency order canceling the hunt is effective at 11:59 p.m. Oct. 14 and expires on June 30.

Only a few bears can be killed by human hand each year, according to a complex formula used by state wildlife managers to ensure the peninsula's brown bear population stays healthy.

The state's best estimate is that 250 to 300 of the animals live on the peninsula.

Bears take years to produce offspring and every loss is factored into the equation, especially if the dead bear is a female.

The formula says no more than 14 brown bears can be killed a year and no more than six can be female.

More than seven sows have been taken since bears left their dens in April, leading the department to cancel the regular fall hunt.

Summer brown bear mortality has grown from near zero in the 1980s to a peak of 14 last year. The fall hunt has been closed frequently since the mid-1990s.

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