Alaska has a moose population problem in some areas of the state. The problem is there aren’t enough. The areas targeted by the Board of Game to increase the moose population is the same areas where the controversial aerial wolf hunt has been debated.

The Alaska brown bear and the wolf are predators of moose calves killing over half of all new borns. The mortality rate on moose calves has been high in recent years making for a drastic decline in the moose population. The state needed to do something about it.

One way of addressing this was to institute the aerial wolf hunt. Because the region in discussion is remote and not easily accessible, officials believed that allowing the hunting of the wolves by air would help to reduce the wolf population.

Next would be addressing the brown bear problem. With this, the Board of Game has approved, for the first time in the state’s history, the sale of bear hides. Brown bear hides, when sold at times by the state from confiscated illegally shot bears, have sold for several thousand dollars. Officials believe that allowing the sale of the hides will be incentive for hunters to go out and harvest more bears. Black bear harvested in the same areas can also be sold.
The sale of bear hides can only be done on bears killed in the designated areas where they are attempting to increase the moose populations. Strict guidelines will be put in place to regulate and track the bear and hides and an emergency clause will give authorities the right to stop the hunt at any time in order to not over hunt the animals.

Wildlife officials say they will not allow the minimum number of brown bears in this region to drop below 54. Statewide, estimates put the brown bear population at 35,000 to 40,000 and black bears at 100,000.

More information about this story can be found here.

Tom Remington