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Early Numbers Show Strong Brown Bear Hunt

Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game

Final numbers haven’t been tallied yet, but the spring bear hunt in the Bristol Bay region looks to have been a solid one.

“(We) had a lot of very satisfied, happy hunters," said King Salmon-based Fish and Game biologist Chris Peterson.

Some 200 brown bears were harvested during the spring hunt. She says that helped to balance out a fall hunt that was a bit slower. Most of the harvest took place in Unit 9E on the Alaska Peninsula. Peterson says a healthy harvest this spring follows reports from recent seasons that the population might be dipping down a bit.

“It’s a good sized population. We have no indications of anything other than healthy other than a few years ago, unit-wide in 9 as well as into Unit 17, we observed and other hunters, guides, residents of the villages apparently observed a decrease in bear numbers. We don’t know that there was a decrease, but whether there was or wasn’t, this year the numbers seem to be coming back up.”

Peterson says they’re trying to get a new survey underway and update their population numbers for the region.

This spring, the majority of the harvest was male bears and Peterson says they tended to be pretty large. About 400 permits were issued for the spring hunt, but managers are still waiting on about half the post-hunt reports they need to finalize the numbers.