Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt

Brown Bear in Katmai Preserve; Daniel Zatz photographer.

Brown Bear in Katmai Preserve; Daniel Zatz photographer.

The Katmai bear video has been one of the most-viewed posts on National Parks Traveler, being viewed more than 4,000 times in less than a week. It has generated anguish, anger, and controversy. Against this backdrop, Alaska Regional Director Marcia Blaszak has taken a moment to explain the National Park Service's viewpoint of how to manage the bear hunt in Katmai National Preserve. - The editors

Dear National Park Friend:

In the past week, we have received and read a significant number of comments regarding bear hunting in Katmai National Preserve. While I do not expect to change views on this matter, in the next few paragraphs I do hope to explain the position of the National Park Service, including some of the research which guides us and the limits to federal action.

Katmai National Preserve was established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. It mandated, in Section 202, that this area be managed for “high concentrations of brown/grizzly bears.” Section 203 provides that sport hunting in national preserves shall be permitted. Sport hunting is regulated by the State of Alaska.

Research by state and federal biologists show that the density of bears in the preserve is high. This August, three survey flights over the preserve produced an average count of 279 bears, with a high of 329 in one instance. Because you never see every bear, this translates into an estimated population of about 581 bears in the preserve, or more than one bear for every square mile. A similar count in August 2006 showed an estimated preserve population of 331 bears and an average count during three flights of 159 bears. Researchers have also seen a high proportion of single bears, another fact reflective of a healthy, high density population.

Hunting takes place the fall of odd-numbered years and in the spring of even-numbered years. During the last open fall-spring hunt, 35 bears were taken. This translates to an annual harvest rate of no more than 5 percent, considered by biologists to be conservative harvest.

The bear population in the preserve (and in the neighboring national park and state lands) is mobile and individual bears move from areas where hunting is legal to areas where hunting is prohibited. Food supply is among the factors in this movement. As a result of this movement over many miles and often among jurisdictions they may also move from where they are relatively easily seen by bear-viewing visitors or biologists to areas where they are less likely to be seen. This means counts will necessarily be approximations, and that observations at different times of the year and in different locations will result in varying data. Our management, and that of the state Department of Fish and Game, takes mobility, variations in food supply and counting techniques into account by looking at population numbers over a large area and over time and not at the numbers of bears in a particular location.

The seasons, harvest limits and other regulations regarding the hunt are established by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Alaska Board of Game, a group appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Alaska Legislature. These regulations define “ethical” in a regulatory sense, and it is those rules which we and the State of Alaska enforce.

Alaskans and others may talk to their elected and appointed officials about the hunting rules they want to see on public land. When Congress last spoke on the issue, it mandated that sport hunting was legal in Alaska’s national preserves and that absent extraordinary circumstances, hunting would be managed by the State of Alaska.

Some commenters also described their views that bears in the preserve are used to seeing people through the summer, including fishermen and bear viewers. It is true that bear viewing has grown as an activity over the last several years. Bears have also been the targets of hunters on the Alaska Peninsula for decades, including the period since the establishment of the national preserve in 1980. Our experience with bears indicates that there is significant variation in the tolerance level which bears have of humans, regardless of the activity in which people are engaged.

The National Park Service will continue to closely monitor the population of bears in Katmai, as well as scrutinize harvest levels and other visitor activities. We appreciate your concern for the park and its resources and welcome your continued participation in the public process.

Marcia Blaszak
NPS Alaska Regional Director

Comments

I appreciate Ms. Blaszak taking the time to respond to the outcry of opposition on the issue of bear hunting in Katmai. I believe she mentioned bear viewers have only increased in numbers over a few years, which sounds abit like they don't matter as much but bear hunters have been legally hunting bears for decades as if that gives the bear hunters automatic tenure!! The issue she failed to address is the absolutely horrific unethical slaughter of the bear hunt in this part of the park and at this particular time of the year. I read a lot of semingly clever political jargan about how it's just plain an Alaskan government sanctioned legal hunt, sustainable numbers, food suply however I did not read one single thing about the ethical or moral fiber of this particular bear hunt. Watch the video again and listen to the guide say, wow this is such a beautiful shot... hell, a two year old would have been able to hit that bear. There are less issues being raised about banning bear hunting in Alaska completely than the main issue which is putting a hault to the unethical slaughter of the bears on Katmai National Preserve. Please Ms. Blaszak, lets call a spade a spade, is this recreational hunting or just plane culling the bears? I think the phrase game management is bullshit when it comes to these particular animals. I think you know the answer to this question!! There are hundreds and hundreds of wildlife viewers and photographers that spend a lot of money in Alaska to do just that. There will always be bear hunters even after you shut this region off to hunting and whats more these bear hunters are always going to hunt whatever they can, but if you keep allowing Alaska's image to be paralleled to the "killing Fields" your going to chase away all the others. The hunters will always come as long as you give them something to hunt, but for GOD's sake give them something they have to hunt!! It's called hunting not POINT BLANK SLAUGHTER KILLING. Iv'e talked to just as many hunters that feel what you are allowing to happen on Katmai amounts to nothing more than an atrocity. Most are not asking you to ban bear hunting in Alaska, just in this part of the park. You mentioned that in the last fall hunt 35 bears were taken... lets do some math here. that's 35 hunters/people or one persons money paid for that bear for eternaity. I know wildlife viewing companies that take 5-11 people out to the bears seven days per week for 3 to 4 months and there are several. This can go on for the life of the bear, one hunter killed bear can only be done once for a lifetime. Sometimes rules and laws have to be changed for the sake of humanity. You can keep letting the hunters fly over there step off their plans and choppers and blast away at the bears point blank, but you will definitely have a fight on your hands thats only going to grow bigger and bigger until this slaughter is stopped. Now that this is being made public around the world, there is only one way it's going to go away.

Having spent a few days at the Brooks Lodge this summer, I am astonded by the inhuman, barbaric ruling allowing bear hunting in Katmai NP.
Are we so reactionary that we have to allow grown men to use bears as target practice for a trophy on their wall.
If these macho individuals would go out with their only weapon being a knife, and take on a bear on even terms, it would still be a crime.
Let the bears be bears, living the way they have lived for many years.
The Katmai NP Rangers made it a point to repect the rights of bears on our visit. Why do we change the rules in order to satisfy the blood lust of these "BOYS" and their big guns!
PROTECT THE BROWN BEARS! SOME DAY WE MAY NOT HAVE THEM. COLD COMFORT.

Isn't Katmai big enough that hunting could be restricted to the less-visited part, where the wildlife would not be so accustomed to humans.

Though I would not kill a wild animal myself other than in self-defense, I know many hunters who do so cleanly, respectfully and ethically. For them, the bear shoot on the video would be no more acceptable than leading a moose out on a leash to shoot.

I also recognize the need for bear, deer, elk, etc. in certain areas to be "thinned" and I think death by gunshot is preferable to starvation. It sure would be for me.

What seems to have so many people upset -- rightfully so -- is the perversion of the term "hunt." Hunting, whether with a gun or a camera (my "weapon of choice") would seem to imply stalking, matching wits against a wild animal that has stealth and cunning and survival instincts. Taking a risk, even, that this wild animal could hurt you. Not walking up to a bear like it's your kid's pet pony and BLAM!

I totally agree with BIN and Texas 2-Step. Lets go back to the video and think about what is going on when the guide says "look at the bears, they just don't even care that we're walking right up to them" BLAM!!! Ther're times when it's not even possible to walk up too an animal in a petting zoo? "SAVE THE BEARS SAVE THE WORLD" Once again I need to mention, the crying and complaining from the hunters about the big carnivors killing the other game they hunt, moose, elk, deer etc. when in fact this is completely false as if you ask the Native Americans in Alaska and elsewhere in our country they unanimously agree the hunters are the ones decimating their game population. Hunters don't blame the bears for killing your other game so as to help persuade politicians to use game management as the excuse to allow you to walk up unabated to these bears and slaughter them point blank!!

Ms. Blaszak, I cannot agree with your holistic assessment on the environmental impact studies on the bear population in Alaska. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something fundamentally missing in these studies. Maybe some of you conversation biologist up in Alaska can see if these studies are skewed intentionally. If there is a slight moratorium on bear killing in Alaska, watch the POACHING go up. It goes hand-in-hand!. Some these hunters are surely waiting in the wings and salivating anxiously to skin a bears head off. Trust me, their thirst is heavy with money for such a kill. Also, what I'm deeply concerned about is, how the Gov. of Alaska selects these so called board members of the Alaskan Fish & Game Dept. and the Alaskan Board of Game: are they political cronies, or pro gut-pile-hunters...or a good cross section of biologist, conservationist, business folks and native Indians of Alaska. Let's examine their professional backgrounds and see if they are truly interested in saving Alaska's great natural heritage. Hopefully, not at the end of a rifle aimed two feet away from live game!

Ms. Blaszak-

Please don't take this the wrong way, but your "response" to the comments that you may or, in this instance, obviously did not read to well, completely ignores the issues that have been raised within the discussions posted on this website. The topic as raised that actually ignited our conversation had little to do with the history of the "hunts", or what allows them to persist in your ever-knowledgable schedule, in the fall of odd-numbered years and in the spring of even-numbered years, and I don't recall any other these authors questioning the act as illegal, Section 203 provides that sport hunting in national preserves shall be permitted, as you have dutifully pointed out. If you had taken a moment to review the title of the original article, you would have quickly noticed that this entire discussion is based around the general public's questioning the ETHICAL practices involved in this lack of sporting venture. Since this type of "harvest" is far from what even those contributors to this discussion consider legitimate hunting, I suppose that your statement regarding the fact that Sport hunting is regulated by the State of Alaska doesn't actually apply, being as this farce is a far cry from sport hunting. If you do indeed consider the observed practices of these individuals, as stated in the original article, to be in line with what qualifies as maintaining a high standard of ethical and sport hunting, then I submit that either the State of Alaska is ignorant of the actual conditions surrounding the "harvest", or is guilty of sanctioning what amounts to the same tactics as used on Harp Seal pups, and is turning a blind eye to the event in favor of the revenues generated by allowing such incompetent hunting within the preserve. If that is the actual position of those charged with administrating policy within the State, then it's time for truly legitimate hunters to rethink their position about visiting your State, given it's inability to guarantee the safety and well-being of those who choose to hunt professionally, ethically, and SAFELY from those drunken slobs with high-powered rifles, cross-bows, and assault weapons, who prefer to shoot as close to camping areas as possible, limiting the person effort involved in educating themselves on their intended prey, learning it's habits and trails, initial reconnaissance, and the inevitable field dressing and removal. THESE were some of the topics your article refuses to address. Why did you purposefully avoid the actual issues we were discussing? Afraid to ruffle some feathers by commenting on the tactics instead of the supposed legality?

Yes!! Ms Blaszak's comments really read as if she's only addressing the legal rights of the hunters massacreing the bears on Katmai. In fact her entire comment seems nothing but pro hunter jargon however it comes to no surprise that yet another politician would once again completely avoid the real issue.. "ruthless, unfair chase, unsportsman like killing of wildlife on Katmai National Preserve" I too have been thinking of the sensless slaughter of seal pups which is so closely associated with this behavior!! rest asure, the next Board of Fish and Game meeting in Anchorage is going to paint a different picture. I truly beleive the bears on Katmai National Preserve will prevail. This issue is being spread around the world. I also truly beleive that the Alaskans do not want to be painted or branded with the image of "The Killing Fields"

I am satisfied with Ms. Blaszak's explanation of the parameters of federal jusidiction and justification for yearly thinning. Her science is quite sound and well reasoned.
It is quite obvious that many of the commenters on this page are getting way too emotional...hunts have taken place for years. These bears will continue to thrive in Katmai thanks to sound mangement practices.
Thank you, National Park Service!!
Gerald
PhD
Wildlife Management

Yet another ignorant comment, made by someone who does not even begin to address the issue here. Please Mr PhD the issue isn't about thinning the population of bears and I'm surprized that this is the only comment you can make. If you truly have a PhD you should have understood what the real issue is? You're damn right people are getting emotional!! once again we have to explain to another ignorant person that it's not about hunting the bears it's about the cruel and unethical way you hunters are doing it Du" please re-read the issue that's become an Outrage and then try to make an intelligent comment!!

Dr. Gerald-

It appears that you also have totally missed the point and that you also have not taken a few moments from your precious schedule to do the investigating research required, thereby enabling yourself to obtain the proper persepective regarding the issue at hand. We're not talking science. We're talking ethical hunting practices. Or in language that you should be familiar with, this falls into one of the many grey areas in the studies and practices of bio-ethics. You want to kill bears, then go ahead and kill bears......that is NOT the issue we've been debating. I am not a hunter, but neither do I interfere with those who choose, within the bounds of the law, to partake of the annual deer, pheasant, duck, squirrel, pigeon, moose, bear, wildebeast, water buffalo, abalone, clam, platypus, kangaroo, penquin, mole, etc. seasons. For the most part I'm assuming, which is always a dangerous thing to do when dealing with people and firearms, these legitimate hunters make annual purchases of various licenses, and I would hope, have the decency to abide by the rules and regulations set forth governing proper usage and restrictions pertinent to their respective permits. I am not anti-hunting, a "liberal tree hugger environmentalist", whatever that is, animal rights activist, or least of all, scientifically ignorant, doctor. Our two Ph.D's put together, all the years in academia, the publications, the long hours of study, research and data analysis mean absolutely nothing to anyone, much to your chagrin I'm sure, due to the simple fact that nobody is questioning the scientific reasoning, field reports, data acquisition and analysis of those data as they pertain to the issue of the permits! I did indeed write that I was curious to know how the numbers were determined, but NEVER did I question or make any statement to the effect of banning the issuance of the permits. I did mention that the latest groups of "hunters" were improperly sanctioned, and in no small fashion carried out their pursuits in a dangerous locale, too near areas that are regularly traversed by hikers, campers, wildlife enthusiasts, and other humans.

Please help our profession retain a shred of dignity and be more prepared with your critiques in the future.

Lone Hiker
Ph.D. Biotechnology, Biochemistry

Wow! This one really got everyone's blood boiling.

This bear hunt looked astronomically more humane to me than the chickenhouses, dairy farms, and pig slaughter houses that I've seen. Like they say, some days you eat the bear; some days the bear eats Treadwell. Nature, she's a real beeee-yatch.

I recall a quote from a ranger at Yosemite implying the likelyhood that more bears were killed by speeding motorists than were killed by throphy and gallbladder poachers. From my experience as a ranger, this seems very likely. In fact, the more weather-beaten my "Smokey Bear Stetson" became, the more I began to realize that I could save more of the park's wildlife by aggressively enforcing speeding regulations that I could do by hiding in the bushes looking for illegal hunting activity. Then, when my flat hat got even more sun-faded, I began to realize that a little population culling wasn't the end of the world. Maggots and Turkey Vultures got to eat too.

Look, I'm a vegetarian who doesn't have the heart to kill spiders I find in my house, but I would have to travel to Katamai, study up on the dynamics of the bear population there, and look at options on how to allow hunting without adversly impacting the nonhunting visitor's experience before I could judge the NPS in this situation.

I am an outdoorsman whom hunts and fishes. I do not believe this is a true "hunt" and it should be managed better. I doubt there is any shortage of bears to view there or any other part of this state. If the powers that be think a certain amout of animals need to be removed, than it should be done by professionals and not the general hunting public. Then people like Bob and the non hunting public that want to use the park do not have to see a poorly run "so called hunt". This is not hunting as it should be but rather a mislabeled bear shopping spree. True hunters prefer to spend their time and effort earning a chance at chosen species where there is some value and honor and respect at the end of a trip. I agree there should be something changed about this event.

Regarding Alaska Regional Director Marcia Blaszak’s comments. I find it interesting that she failed to mention the “blood money” the National Park Service receives from this trophy hunt (shoot).

Yes, the hunting guide in the video has a multi-year concessions contract to conduct this hunt in the Katmai Preserve with National Park Service and pays a portion of his guiding fees to the Park Service. So the more bears his clients kill, the more the Park Service makes. Isn’t that convenient?

Instead she wants to believe everything is fine in Katmai and redirect the agreement to surveys and data. This issue is NOT about surveys or data, it’s about human habituated bears, hunting ethics and “fair chase” or lack thereof, didn’t she see the video.

As a resident of New York City that does not have the benifit of wildlife (unless you consider the rats) I saw the video on You Tube and my jaw just dropped. Are you kidding me? We have a term here 'shooting fish in a barrel' which means the prey have no chance. That "hunt" remined me of that saying. When did Alaskans give up the idea of the need for sport when it comes to hunting? The reply here indicates that this is not a requirement and I am looking forward to telling my friends on the Today Show and the New York Times show about this video. TV Networks love stories like this since they, like me, are based in a place with zero nature and stories about places that abuse it are highly sought.

We appreciate your concern for the park and its resources and welcome your continued participation in the public process.

Ms. Blaszak's final statement is telling. It reflects the National Park Service's continued economic mentality toward life. "Concern for the park and its resources. . ." By labeling such a magnificent creature as the brown bear as a "resource", the NPS diminishes a life form, considered sacred by some, to property or wealth or money owned by the superior human race, to be "managed" by an unfeeling, uncaring, self-serving bureaucracy.

Public process? More Newspeak. There is no public process here! The public has been completely shut out of the process, and the bureaucratic monster refuses to listen or to change course even in the face of such an overwhelming public outcry.

Shame on Ms. Blaszak and the National Park Service for not listening to the People and for murdering bears. Shame on you!

I wonder if she's referring to the public process of voicing opinions sure to be ignored or the public process of game management? Sorry, I couldn't resist.......

All of you antihunters need to chill...we have the right to continue these tours, the park blongs to all of us.
Our clients derive great enjoyment from this hunt.

How many of you people commenting have even hunted brown bears? How many of you live in Alaska? Most brown bears this time of year do ignore you as they are more concerned with finding food. It doesnt matter if you are in Katmai reserve or the yukon river or king salmon, if you are hunting a fall bear theres a good chance he wont notice you if you walk up to him. For you people that call the hunters ruthless and savages - why dont you come walk within a couple feet of a mature brown bear and see if you dont wet yourself? How about you Bob? You say a 2 year old could make that shot? I could walk you up to 100yards away and I would probably have to pull the trigger for you. The Department of Fish and Game and the Parks Service has reasons for this hunt. It should not be questioned. They understand the wildlife issues, you dont. You should also realize that the film crews were harassing and interfering with a legal hunt, including a news station. If I was one of the guys being harassed there would multiple lawsuits going by now.

Marcia Blaszak's statement is no more than the pat agency response. They state that there are plenty of bears in Katmai Preserve. The whole of Katmai Preserve is not what is the problem. It is a small portion of the Preserve namely GMU 9C sub unit 703. This is the area of most use by all user groups. The State of Alaska bear Harvest reports show,over eight hunting seasons the average age of the bears being slaughtered here has dropped from sixteen years old to 2.8 years. This data has been presented to The Alaska Board of Game at every meeting about this area since 2000.The last two hunt age reports have not been available from the State of Alaska.( How Convenient. ) In 1999 the B.O.G. moved the bear hunting season forward from Oct.12 to Oct.1 and opened it up to any bear any age exceept a female with cubs. Does this mean that they can kill the cubs but not the female? After every hunt there are orphaned cubs. Word has it that the B.O.G. is dicussing allowing the killing of females with cubs and the cubs. Also being talked about by the B.O.G. is killing bears from airplanes.
The Board of Game is appointed by the governor of Alaska and confirmed by the Alaska Legislation. Once appionted thier term is for 3 years and cannot be removed exceept by the Legislation. The current board is made up of all hunters most of which are members of the A.O.C. ( Alaska Outdoor Council ) Hunters. In the past there have been several non hunters on the board but were removed because they did not want to kill everything. At the 2005 Board of Game meeting in Anchorage there were seven or eight Native vellage elders testify. And the first words out of thier mouths were " We have too many hunters in our area and they have killed all of our moose and caribou."
The Katmai National Park and Preserve is national property and belongs to ALL Americans not just Alaskans. Write your Congressman and push them to include GMU 9C 703 into the Katmai National Park. Tell All of your friends to do the same and keep it up until Congress rewites the park boundaries.

Gerald, what is your Ph.D. in?

"Murdering" bears...you are funni.

Fact, thanks for divulging more information about this some what clandestine outfit called the Board of Game and the Alaska Outdoor Council. Sounds like a group of good old boys wanting to control the whole atmosphere of hunting in Alaska...lock stock and barrel! These hunting boards are nothing but a scam. Their goal (and agenda) is to stack the board with pro gut pile hunters, and solidfy their power base to lock out the more conservation minded advocates...and screw the Alaskan Indians. The high price hunting guides (some really think there Daniel Boone) are nothing but prostitutes for the slob rich hunters that can't track, fish or shoot...unless holding hands with a smooth talking guide. To you so called weenie hunters, lets see you do your wilderness homework, and do it alone when it comes to PURE hunting without any strings attached. For the guides...get a real job!

murder: to kill or slaughter inhumanly or barbarously.

that's what i and countless others see on the video.

this isn't a hunt. try hunting bears with spears and atlatls. that's hunting.

Oh, I doubt if you could mount much of a case to support your statement insinuating that I'm ignorant of wildlife issues, and that the almighty Board of Game, NPS, DF&G, or other all-knowing agencies should be held in the highest reverence and left to their own devices in their decision making processes regarding the "resources" contained within our parklands. Nobody is above that measure of scrutiny Bear Hunter. The last time the American public left an elected official above the level of scrutiny, we were treated to an up-close and personal view of an idiot who claimed that he didn't even know what sex was, and I cannot EVER allow for that puny level of intellect to become the leading influence on policy that directly impacts some portion of my life, since after all, they're spending MY money, and every taxpayer should demand accountability. It's not only our right, it's our duty as citizens. If you enjoy being a sheep and following orders without question, that's your call. But don't expect or demand that others swear that same blind oath.

Blaszak's response is pure bureaucratic agency speak. It reminds me of the form letter I get back from my Congressman after writing him about nerve gas leaks and above ground bomb tests.

"We appreciate your concern for the park and its resources and welcome your continued participation in the public process."

These are the words of a person secure in their permanent civil service status with a fat & happy government retirement package safely on the horizon.

These are people I would not trust to mow my lawn, much less manage a vast and complex wilderness on the edge of nowhere. She is just a small cog in a massive bureaucracy that is unnaccountable in more ways than any of us would care to contemplate. Worst of all there is very little we can do about it short of a tax revolt.

Ms. Blaszak is the impersonal and obfuscating face of a Kafkaesque nightmare of an agency that is unable or unwilling to call this hunt what it really is: a bloody slaughter.

I too would like to thank FACT for providing us that information. Mark, Thank You! finally an intellegent educated hunter Outdoorsman who no doubt hunts with ethically and morally as well as skill. I would like to hear from more hunters that understand the issue of fair chase hunting and who beleive the bear hunting on Katmai Nationa Preserve is nothing more than mindless target practice for skill-less hunters. Bear Hunter", please don't lecture us about not having great outdoor hunting skills or experience!! As aprofessional photographer I've spent many years out on the Katmai, on Kodiac and in Canada with the bears. I've had a young brown bear walk up to me lick my boot and paw at my tripod so don't lecture me or anyone else about your great hunting skills. It takes no mind or skill at all to step off a plane walk a few feet and slaughter a bear or anyother animal with a gun. Why don't you try hunting wildlife with a camera instead of standing in-between them with a 7mag or H+H 375 mag and tell me if you don't wet your pants?? The issue is unethical hunting of brown bears in the Fall on Katmai National Preserve. Bear Hunter watch the video, pay attentionand listen... "what a great shot, the bears, they just don't even care. " another hunter says wow' the bear's walking right up to us" Fact" brought up some excellnt points about the age of the animals being shot on Katmai. They're becoming younger and younger and I know a group of people who have to go out every year at the end of the hunt and deal with the orphaned cubs wow" what a job!! You see, what the Alaska BOG doesn't mention is the "water-shed" affect killing a female with cubs has on the bear population because killing one bear may lead to the death of two or three bears, which is one reason the bear numbers are dropping. I'm not calling all hunters ruthless savages, just the hunters/guides out on Katmai gunning down the bears pointblank. I've had many conversations with hunters about this issue and all are in agreement, this is not hunting in any stretch of the imagination, but ruthless slaughter of our wildlife. No doubt the big bear hunters come back home and tell everyone about their big bear hunt and how tough and dangerous it was, why tracking a huge Grizzly through miles of bush; well the video is now showing the people what's really happening on Katmai. The Park does belong to all Americans, not just Alaska based hunting guides.

PLEASE WRITE YOUR LOCAL CONGRESSMAN IN PPROTEST OF SLAUGHTERING BEARS ON KATMAI NATIONAL PRESERVE. GMU 9C 703 KATMAI NATIONAL PARK.

SEND EVERYONE YOU CAN THINK OF THE NATIONAL PARKS VIDEO LINK SO THEY TOO CAN SEE THE VIDEO FOR THEMSELVES AND READ THE COMMENTS.

Bob Jackson: Your wrong on a couple things.. the hunters didnt say

"what a great shot, the bears, they just don't even care. " another hunter says wow' the bear's walking right up to us"

It was the camera crew from Ktuu news, just watch it closer and read who it was that sent the video's.
Just remember, they will show you only the video that is justifying their cause. Dont believe everything they show you.

And in another video you can hear Megan Baldino say "it ran up the hill and I almost s*** my pants" (cant believe the editors let that one get through) but I thought these bears were so habituated a hunter could just walk right up to it?

If you think the bears are getting "habituated" then maybe we should outlaw the fishing and bear viewing in that area? Then they wouldnt be so used to people and the hunt might be more ethical in your eyes? Does one special interest group have more rights than the other because your not part of it?

Dear justanotherhunter

"it ran up the hill and I almost s*** my pants" (cant believe the editors let that one get through)

"..shit my pants..."? I was recently up in Katami and got several times within yards of bears without considering to shit my pants. These bears are basically tame! My cat is shier. If anybody shits his pants getting close to fat bears with full stomachs, they must be bloody cowards full of "angst" (meaning irrational fear, compared to rational "fear").
Concerning: "(can’t believe the editors let that one get through)". If you consider using clean and appropriate language don't start with the word "shit". I suggest instead analyzing the difference between "hunt" and "slaughter". After you might have grasped the difference consider calling yourself appropriately "justanotherbutcher" not "justanotherhunter". (No insult intended to real butchers – I love the meat you produce and your profession.)
This is not about one special group having more rights than another group. This is about the ethics of hunting and about “butchers” giving good hunters a bad rep. If individuals like you continue supporting unethical slaughter of tame bears, the repercussions will be plenty of public pressure. Granola eaters do like their teddy bears! You might consider killing semi-domesticated animals fair game, however the majority of hunters including myself can not agree with you. Killing these bears is neither in the interest of hunting nor is it sportsman like. I can understand the public outcry and don’t want to be confused with people like you. Hunters will never be butchers. Be ashamed!

Great point Ralph. Justanotherhunter" If what you say is correct about the sound track on the video then thanks for pointing that out and I stand corrected on that! even so, that changes absolutely nothing about the bear slaughter happening on Katmai National Preserve GMU 9C 703 Katmai National Park and behavior of the hunting guide outfits. You see justanotherhunter beleiving only what you want is no more fact than beleiving what is shown!! That video is not the only evidence out there for the rediculous bear slaughter you guys call sports hunting. I've persoally talked to several pilots and crew who monitored and recorded the entire first week of the hunt and all report the same thing unfair chase, slaughter horrific etc. Lets not forget that Alaska's own BOG wildlife biologist sent out to Katmai to see the first days of this hunt said the same thing.. he had no idea it was this bad out there and he was embarrassed and ashamed the Alaska Board of Fish and Game has been allowing this to happen. The Katmai bear hunt is no different than the canned hunts down in Texas where ranchers get old retired circus animals, disgarded exotic pets throw them out into a field and charge big money to allow some fat rich slob to shoot big game wow' what men!!! Like Ralf said, these are basically tame animals, again what skill it must take to shoot them. Justanotherhunter, if you sanction this kind of killing than you are definitely not a hunter and you should call yourself "justanotherkiller" The real hunters I know completely disapprove of what"s going on out on Katmai. Skillful moral hunters feel this is a disgrace to their sport!!

Thank you Gerald (PhD) and Ms. Blaszak's. Finally a clear educated representation of what everyone refers to as "the hunt" is really about. For comments made that the National Park Service is missing the point, please re-read Ms. Blaszak's statement. If you still don't understand it, please consider that YOU are missing the point. I've been growing tired reading the ignorant comments left by over emotional, undereducated, slightly ignorant writers.

Because I have not seen one comment yet written by a person who lives in the area I have to question where they are getting their information about tame bears. Let me fill you in....Katmai is large. In response to one question, "can they hunt in a less densly populated area of Katmai, to make the chase more fair?" The answer is YES, but I'm not sure how the question relates to what is being accomplished here. It was never intended to be a chase. Bears are overpopulated in many areas of Katmai, why would you use harvest control hunts in areas where they are less populated? Bears roam MANY rivers in that area. The density of bears on that river in the video is not unique even to Katmai. Back to the point. For those of you who insist on questioning the process, please limit your comments to what you actually understand. Consider that many of you have never even been to the area. Do any of you live in the bush? Do you know what the alternatives to a controlled hunt could be?

I personally could not shoot a bear and I've been close to many. I just don't know if it came to me or the bear that I would feel just taking his life for mine, knowing I was in the bears territory. I have great respect bears. We do see them in large numbers sometimes flying over and counting well over 100 bears in a 10 mile area. These are not even healthy numbers for their own survival. Have you watched a bear kill another bear? Have you seen the village public safety officer shoot a cub walking on the beach in front of a handful of kids? Or the scores of visitors that had to receive counseling after watching a bear kill another bear right in front of them at the falls (Brooks Lodge.)

It has to be managed. If you don't like to see it, I understand, neither do I. Because we don't like it, doesn't make our opinion the best judge. My husband was a big game bear guide back in the 80's and he still flies hunters to these locations to shoot bears. I no more personally agree with this than I do with the bear viewing outfits that try to prevent the hunters from shooting. We all have to respect the law, enforcers, and the science behind the decisions being made. If it infuriates you that much, educate yourself, you might find that as much as you don't like it, it actually makes more sense than your intitial emotionally charged reaction.

Lastly, I cannot put into words the distaste I have for Channel 2 News and reporter Megan Baldino. In my opionion their coverage borderlined heavily on biast reporting. The troopers didn't show up until after the news team had left, this made it difficult for them to follow up on the interference complaint, for lack of evidence, that doesn't mean it didn't happen. This video and news release has caused many problems for organizations in Alaska and I thought Channel 2 was at the very least, irresponsible. Flying out with a well known "Bear Viewing Operation" did not bode well with the public trust. Consider sending your reporters, not with the guy whose making a luxrative living off BEAR VIEWING but with an air taxi that is not partial in any way. Whether Megan Baldino personally agreed with harvesting bears in Katmai or not, she might have pretended for her audience to be an unbiast reporter. One Example: immediately following an update on the complaint against her for intentionally interfering with the bear hunt, a story aired about hunting whales (also very contested), her response was something like, "I haven't tried Mukluk yet, I'll have to do that some day", (laughter). Clearly she doesn't have a problem hunting whales. Problem is, she isn't in a position to advocate for or against anything. Megan Baldino, when at the news desk, representing Channel 2 News KTUU, is a reporter. We don't care or want to hear her personal views or side comments to her co-anchors about anything when she is reporting "the news."

Dear "Living with bears",

Let's assume for a second that we need to manage the bear population in Katmai National Park. Who should do that? Trained experts or the highest bidder?

Living with Bears. I do live in Alaska, in Fact I was born here. Where are you from. I have spent over Twenty years in the Katmai Park and Preserve. In all that time have never seen an over population of Brown Bears. Just a declining population, more so since 1999 when the hunting season was moved forward. Katmai Park was set-up in 1918 by President Teddy Rosevelt to protect the Brown Bears. The Presrve was laidout in 1981 as part of ANLCA. The way that the bear counts are done there is NO science to it. They fly a pattern and if they see ten bears they say there must be fifty. ( Using thier formula). The higher the supposed bear numbers the more they can kill. The Katmai Preserve is about 300 sq. miles. GMU 9C 703 is about 25 sq. miles. Let the hunters go to the far west end of the Preserve where the bears are not as use to being close to humans.

Living with Bears, there are people writing comments who are native Alaskans and have years of experience living with bears and spending time out on Katmai. I personally get my information from many of these people some of them bear biologists. I have also been coming to Alaska for many years and some years twice. Over the past 8-9 years there has been a steady decline in bear numbers in GMU 9C 703 and I get some of that information by spending time out there year after year. When I'm out on Katmai, I trek for miles every day. How many of those wealthy bear hunters do you think are Alaskan natives? I bet NONE!! My family and I spend double the amount of money each and evry year on Alaska's economy than any bear hunter and it's already been pointed out to you that Katmai National Preserve is a public park and I've paid my park dues. you just read the comment from FACT, a native Alaskan who stated plenty of facts for you. I'm currious where you get your factual information? of course being the wife of a bear hunting guide your's must be the most accurate!! You don't have to have cancer to know it's bad and wrong. Once again pay attention to the isses people are upset about.. shooting the bears while they're still at th their dinner table. Moving the hunting season up to October one was the stupidist thing that could have been done. Most are not asking for the bear hunting to be stopped, just moved away from this region.

Just a quote from Director Bomar to make people think ...
QUOTE
the director went on to say that throughout her Park Service career she has "worked with archaeologists, historians, biologists ... and often we don't sit down and listen to their information that they've gathered."
UNQUOTE

For anyone who would like to get a better visual of the bears milling around the lake and camps where the hunters are set-up go to www.scottdickerson.com he's a photographer that took many still images of the so-called bear hunt on Katmai. I think his images help to further drive home how simple it was for the hunters to walk up to the bears and shoot!!

Alaska public radio ran a piece on the bear hunt on Katmai. There were a number of people giving their take including, bear biologists and even a trophy hunter who unanimously feel the bear hunt out on Katmai was very unethical and really was not hunting , but killing or harvesting. you can listen to the piece by going to www.akradio.org/archive open the "Mixed Signals" 11/24/2007 segment and scroll to the (7) min. and that's where the story begins.

Real man huh? I would love to walk within feet of a bear rather then live anywhere near your inconsiderate self. The point is there is no sport in murder. If they need to be thinned out let the state decide which bears need to be shot. You just want that bear trophy to hang on your chair like miss Sara. Kill all the big healthy bears and leave the rest, soon there will be nothing left on earth but sick and scared animals for you killers to hunt down. Maybe then you won't be interested in killing any more.

Anonymous (Sept 14 '08)

Hey, the most recent comment preceding yours is from last November - almost a year ago. There was a whole bunch of other comments, and we can't tell which one you are responding to.

The original post says straight out:

"During the last open fall-spring hunt, 35 bears were taken. This translates to an annual harvest rate of no more than 5 percent, considered by biologists to be conservative harvest." (emph. added)
... So they obviously are not killing all "big healthy bears", as you say.

Alaska bear populations have been hunted for a long time, and there is no runting or other diminution of the resource.

We understand that some folks do not like or approve of hunting, either as a general rule or as pertains to certain species, or within certain habitats. It is clear from your comment that you are passionate. Please gather your good arguments together, make clear which other commenter you are addressing, and tell us more about your position & views.

Thank you!