Grizzly Bear Control Permits Available

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Permits to participate in the State sponsored bear control program in eastern Interior Alaska will be available April 1 from Fish and Game offices in Tok, Fairbanks, Anchorage and Palmer.

Bears can be taken in the area under either a general hunting season or the control program. The general hunting season allows hunters to take two grizzly bears per year in Unit 20E without a permit. The control program permits will allow Alaska residents to take more grizzly bears in a portion of Unit 20E, and if they choose, to use bait to take grizzly bears. The control program is designed to help promote growth in the moose population by reducing grizzly bear predation on moose and especially calves.

"If we can help more moose survive the first year, the moose population may be able to increase and provide more harvest for people," said Jeff Gross, Tok Area Biologist.

The moose populatio in the Units 20E & 12 area has been identified by the Board of Game as being important for providing high leveles of harvest for human consumption under the state intensive management law. Wolf predation year round and bear predation during spring and summer have been identified as important causes for the failure to achieve moose harvest objectives that were established by the Board. A wolf control program in a portion of Units 20E and 12 began this winter and is scheduled to continue for up to five years.

An estimated 135 grizzly bears inhabit the area now, and the control program requires that at least 54 bears remain in the control area. The program will begin when permits are issued, in early April, and is scheduled to close June 30, 2005 or when the quota is reached.

If bait is used, sites must be registered with Fish and Game in Tok before bait is placed in the field, and must be identified with signs at the baiting location. Bait may not be used within 1/4 mile of publics roads or trails, within one mile of houses, campgrounds or dwellings, or within 1/2 mile of garbage dumps.

Cubs and females accompanied by cubs may not be taken under the permit. The program will be closed if the first year quota of 81 bears is reached. Hides and skulls must be sealed at the Tok Fish and Game office before leaving the area. Permittees must also notify the Tok office by phone or in person within five days of taking a bear under the permit.

A complete list of conditions is included on control permits.

People with questions about the permits or about predator control programs should call (907) 267-2269 or (907) 459-7231 for additional information.