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If you are interested in ever hunting Glacier Bear ("blue" color black bear), you may want to send a letter to Alaska Department of Fish & Game and let them know. Alaska is being besieged by photograh hunters and this may set a very unfortunate precedent.

Game Board to look at protecting white-colored black bears
SOUTHEAST: Hunting of wolves and waterfowl are also on the agenda.


The Associated Press


(Published: October 24, 2002)
The Alaska Board of Game will meet in Juneau next month to decide among conflicting interests of people who shoot or trap wildlife and those who just want to view animals.

The board, meeting Nov. 1-7, mostly will take up hunting and trapping proposals that affect Southeast.

Hot issues are likely to include proposals to protect rare, white-colored black bears from hunters, to halt the hunting and trapping of wolves on Douglas Island until a sustainable population has built up, and to register waterfowl hunters who use the Mendenhall Wetlands or stop them from hunting near homes.

The Game Board, in a temporary emergency order in late August, forbade the hunting of white-colored black bears in the Juneau area. It acted at the request of local resident Pat Costello, whose photographs of such a bear led to media reports that went around the world.

Now the Game Board will consider making its order permanent, the Juneau Empire reported.

"Some people would like to take pictures of the bear. Some would like to shoot it," Neil Barten, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game, told the Juneau Douglas Fish and Game Advisory Committee last week.

All but one of the advisory committee members -- composed of anglers, commercial fishermen, hunters, trappers and an environmentalist -- opposed the permanent rule, saying the term "white-colored" in the rule was too vague. They were concerned hunters who shoot the gray-colored black bears known as glacier bears would be punished or inhibited under the proposed rule.

"It is a problematic thing," Barten said. "If someone shoots a bear that's kind of white, what do you do?"

But Costello, in an interview, said "there's no way to confuse this white bear with anything else."

Costello said it was "extremely shortsighted" of the advisory committee to not want to protect the white bear. A backlash against hunting and Juneau could result if the bear were killed, he said.

"It's absolutely unique," Costello said.

The board is also expected to consider a ban on hunting and trapping of wolves on Douglas Island until the state can manage for a sustainable population there.

The board also will consider two proposals designed to stop waterfowl hunters from shooting at houses near the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge. As many as 800 people hunt in the nearly 6-square-mile refuge each year, Barten said.

One proposal would close an unspecified area near houses to hunting. Another would require hunters in the Mendenhall Wetlands to register annually for free with the Fish and Game department, so they can be told about safety and consideration for homeowners.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #3
Here's their website, there is contact information on the homepage.

http://www.state.ak.us/adfg/adfghome.htm

Before folks get too wound up, the Glacier Bear is a grayish blue tinted black bear. Found mostly around the Yakutat area, though many are seen throughout glacier systems statewide. It isn't some rare endangered specie or limited to only one little area in all of the world (the way the Kermode is). The regulations temporarily imposed are to protect what many believe to be a Kermode bear living near Juneau, but the wording pretty much encompasses any black bear that isn't black. Glacier Bears, Cinnamon colored black bears and so forth may become illegal to shoot under these new regulations.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here's a photo of the "white" or "kermode" black bear spotted near Juneau.
 

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338 - I met a couple in Ft. Worth a few years ago who had just returned from Alaska. It was her 3rd trip there in an attempt to kill a "blue bear". She was finally succesful on her 3rd trip, and had passed up some nice black black bears in the previous attempts. She was very proud of her success, and rightfully so. Here in Maine, the leaf peepers and photographers are all whining about a so-called lack of big bulls (moose) to view. !0 or 15 years ago they whined that the moose weren't wild enough to be considered fair game for hunters. Needless to say, the moose, and a good supply of trophy bulls, are still here. But they've been made "wilder" and more shy of humans (which is what I thought these people wanted). Well the same dubs are still whining, and will never stop. Just because they are too lazy or lack the ability to get around if they are more than 10 feet from a road, they think moose hunting should end. What are we going to do? It's about like trying to reason with a crying 6 month old infant.

I also believe, and have read studies that confirm this, that one hunter puts as much money into the "wildlife based economy" as about 20 photographers. That's something the law makers should listen to and appreciate.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That is the way it is up here. Folks spend a huge amount of money and want to be sure they get really good pictures of animals and such, but they don't ever leave the cruise ships or the tour buses. Like Seyfried said, "You cannot buy skill" or something like that. Contrary to popular opinion, there is not a moose or caribou or bear behind every tree up here and it does take some knowledge to get close to game in the wilds (Parks withstanding). Funny, most of the time in the summer you can drive out to around Beluga Point or Windy Corner on the Seward Highway about 5 or 6 a.m. and see Dall Sheep right near the road, but you never see anyone out there at that time. Same with moose at Potter's marsh, just on the outskirts of Anchorage. And if they do see a moose in June they get mad because they don't see the big antlered ones!!! Most people wait till the middle of the day, after it is nice and warm and the animals have moved up the mountains (where they are just specks) or into the shadows. Then they want wider buffer zones to protect animals from hunters because they aren't seeing anything. We use a lot helicopter time in our work and one of our pilots flies tourists around when (in his words) there is no real work to be done. He had someone ask him what time did the people turn the wild animals out and put them up at night. I guess she was mad because she wasn't seeing a lot of moose or bears during the flight.

I can understand saving up for a trip to Alaska and wanting to see what you came to see, but for those of us that live here and supplement our larder with wild game, it is important not lock those that live here out of prime hunting areas. Hunters, almost exclusively, shoulder the burden and expense for wildlife management.
 
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