The Alaska Board of Game approved a plan on Sunday to have state biologists slaughter an unspecified number of black and grizzly bears in a portion of Game Management Unit 19A in an effort to increase the area's moose population.
Bears will be shot by state biologist from helicopters starting in 2013. The program will run for two years and all efforts to recover salvageable bear meat to give to local communities will be made. The number of bears to be killed is unknown but a press release detailing Sunday's meeting said the number will be as low as possible.
A follow-up email to Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms by the Fairbanks Daily News garnered the following, "All bears within the 540 square mile area will be removed, but that total will include many more black bears than grizzlies."
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates the 540-square mile management area holds between 135 and 160 black bears and between 10 to 15 brown bears. Game Management Unit 19A is located in the middle Kuskokwim River region, about 250 miles southeast of Fairbanks and includes the villages of Kalskag, Aniak, Sleetmute and Stony River.
This is the second approval by the Game Board of plans to shoot bears from helicopters. In January the board approved the slaughter of grizzlies on the North Slope in order to increase the area's musk ox population.
Is this really the best way to increase the moose population? Couldn't the Alaska Department of Fish and Game allow hunters to take bears in the area? Why not make bear tags in that unit free? What's your take?