Don't Let Them Shoot McNeil River Brown Bears

I’m surprised that even Alaska would allow this to happen, if only for economic reasons, but they have elected a reactionary new governor, and the Alaska Board of Game has never been enlightened.

This will probably attract the same kind of shooters as those who like to shoot elk, deer behind a high fence.

YouTube video giving the details.

The story is gaining steam. This today on MSNBC. “Famous Alaska bears could become the hunted. State board wants to allow hunts near McNeil River sanctuary.”

More on Feb. 14. Rep Seaton introduced HB127 today to expand the McNeil River sanctuary to include the Kamishak Special Use Area.






  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    When I was studying wolves and wolf control in the Yukon a decade ago, I was told that although grizzlies were having as much impact on ungulates as wolves, it was considered “socially unacceptable to control bears.” So wolves received the full weight of predator control.

    It used to be the same in Alaska for bears, but over the last decade, the bloodlust for killing all predators for very bad reasons has now extended to bears. Part of the reason for this is that Alaska’s population is growing uncontrollably and far too many people have moved there in the belief that it is a hunter’s paradise, with moose and caribou there for the taking, like milk and honey in the promised land, without having to work very hard for the taking.

    This attitude fails to take into account the fact that much of Alaska, except for the southeast, is not particularly productive ecologically and can only support so many ungulates. As competition for ungulates increases, predators like wolves and bears take the hit, and habitat receives no or little attention at all.

    This issue of ecololgical productivity is not the case in the McNeil River area, but the same thinking that drives predator control to marginally increase ungulates in interior Alaska extends to the southeast. Since the area is productive for bears, which not shoot a bunch of them too. They’re eating too many fish.

    I often thought of staying in the North after the completion of my study, but I was watching the kinds of devastation of land and wildlife that had already happened here in the West over the last century, and I thought I would rather be involved in restoring what has been destroyed here rather than watching true wilderness being destroyed under the onslaught of industrial depravity and expansion that is, sadly, unstoppable.

    Of course, when I moved here I couldn’t have foreseen what was going to happen to the Little Colorado and Red Deserts with the gas boom. There is no escape.

  2. kt Avatar

    It seems to me that rightwing Western states are showing themselves incapable of managing wildlife on public lands in any way other than MAXIMUM DEATH of animals that most Americans.

    Right now, they are trying to kill all they can because 1)It’s a distraction, and 2) They know THEIR sick days are numbered (mounting public outrage)- so why not make it fun while it lasts with all these wolf, bear, whatever slaughters … And the Safari Club types can then head on into senility drooling over their bearskin rugs, wolf heads, whatever.

    Maybe its time for somethng like a national level Large Carnivore Protection Act … Instead of fighting all these separate state by state battles … Do what the Republicans do – Blow the issue up and make it even bigger.

  3. Alan Gregory Avatar

    Too many people can’t get over the tired notion of North America being one big smorgasboard of resources, inanimate and animate alike — a veritable cornucopia of fish and wildlife and minerals just waiting to be “harvested,” “shot” or otherwise “taken.” To some folks, it seems, the frontier is still in place and the great herds of pronghorn, bison, etc. are still there for their pleasure. Some critters, of course, remain standing in the way of making money. Therefore, they are varmints and must be “removed.” The myth of the cowboy, though, is just that.

  4. Howard Avatar

    Considering that the McNeil River grizzlies are among the most famous and often photographed bears in Alaska, I can’t imagine that this could bring more reward than headache for the state of Alaska. This seems like it’s just asking to pick a fight, and may indeed be the usual suspects showing all them tree huggers who’s boss. I wonder if this is a conscious backlash against the concept of nonconsumptive values for wildlife… the McNeil River bears are a textbook example of lucrative ecotourism and a valuable wildlife resource NOT based on hunting.

  5. peter hagelis Avatar

    What a shame. After 20+ years of no hunting in the adjacent areas of McNeil, the want to open hunting to benefit a few hunters with fat wallets. McNEIL HAS BEEN A THORN IN THE SIDE OF SOME HUNTERS IN Alaska for some time. It is spiteful behavior. I am a hunter and a fisherman closeures benefit the hunters and the viewers. The bear populations have been hurt with an increase in harvests. How can a gruop that represents 17% of the population have so much influence is beyond me. I spend my summers at my residence on the back side of Kodiak and on the Katmai Coast and have seen a decline in bears. Bears do not reproduce like deer. Stop the stupidity. Wake up Game Board


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Ralph Maughan