State Calls USFWS Kenai Brown Bear Closure Unjustified
State Disappointed with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Decision to Close Brown Bear Hunting on the Kenai Peninsula
(Juneau) – The State of Alaska is disappointed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to use emergency authority to close national wildlife refuge lands on the Kenai Peninsula to the taking of brown bears.
“This action is an unnecessary and unjustified preemption of state hunting regulations," said Doug Vincent-Lang, Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation. "The state regulations were developed by the Alaska Board of Game in an open public process and addressed increasing numbers of bears, public concerns over increased human-bear interactions, and are consistent with the state constitution’s requirement for sustainable populations."
Vincent-Lang added, “The current harvest of bears this year is not unexpected and does not represent a viability concern. Once again we are faced with overreach by the federal government into the management of Alaska’s wildlife.”
Because viability of bears is not a concern, non-refuge lands on the Kenai Peninsula normally open to hunting will remain open to brown bear harvest.