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Katmai Bear Hunt: Outfitter Says It's No Walk in the Woods

Scott Dickerson photo.

Trophy hunters didn't have to range far to find a brown bear to kill in Katmai National Preserve. Scott Dickerson photo, used with permission.

An outfitter whose clients at close range gunned down brown bears in Katmai National Preserve contends the hunt is not akin to "shooting fish in a barrel." And Jim Hamilton, who owns True North Adventures, claims those who filmed portions of the hunt ruined the hunters' experience.

"There are no mechanized vehicles used to locate or stalk animals, they are not fenced or held captive by any unnatural means," Mr. Hamilton said in a written statement he sent to KTUU TV.

The outfitter went on to say Monday, the first day of the fall hunt in Katmai National Preserve, was a "very sad day ... (the) hunters were participating in a perfectly legal hunt (and) had their entire experience ruined by others who chose to use illegal methods to harass and interfere with their hunt."

But Sean Farley, the regional biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game who's responsible for the area where the hunt was conducted, agreed Friday that the hunt is "not fair chase."

"I feel personally remiss as the regional biologist that I haven't thought it out that this is what's going on out there," Farley told the Anchorage Daily News. "Not until I saw the video did I realize how bad it is. It's not appropriate."

Park Service officials, meanwhile, say the hunts are not threatening the Preserve's bear population.

"In recent surveys in August, we counted 330 bears in the preserve -- about a bear every square mile -- and that's a high density of bears," John Quinley, the agency's spokesman in Alaska, told KTUU. "That's what the law requires. Our management aims are for a high density of bears and we think we are achieving that."

But among the questions that need to be addressed is whether a healthy population justifies what has turned out to be a slaughter of arguably habituated animals taken only for their hides and skulls, not for subsistence.

You can find more coverage of this story here.


Explain your interpretation of "illegal methods", and how they apply in this specific instance. Admittedly, killing permits were indeed issued for use during a specified time frame. And your executioners were by some legal statute operating within the limits of those contracts. However, the photographing, filming, or other manner of documentation of ANY activities that take place on public landsis well within the scope of legality. If you don't want to be on camera, take your actions into the private sector. In the chance that camera crews placed themselves between preditor and prey, as extreme as those tactics might viewed, those recording the activities did indeed have just as much LEGAL right to be in the area as did those trophy-hunting low-lives lacking in skills and ethics to conduct a reasonably equtible pursuit of they intended quarry. Don't for a moment confuse these specimens with truly wild bears. If you ever had the opportunity to stare down a wild bear at a range of 20 yds., your first instincts would NOT be engaging in a moment of awe and appreciation, rather it would be quickly locating a place to discard of your soiled underwear. Sport hunting indeed.........who you crapping'?

"Our management aims are for a high density of bears and we think we are achieving that." This is the typical bureaucratic gobbledegook we have come to expect from the career minded robots who staff the elite ranks of the NPS.

I'm so glad you are meeting the goals of your management plan. You deserve a pat on your spineless back.

Mr. Hamilton, I carefully read your story on the Katmai bear slaughter, and that's exactly what it is...a slaughter...even in the confines of the Alaskan game laws. However, I don't buy your sugar coated scenario what happened during this easy kill. You mentioned, there was "no mechanized vehicles" used during the hunt. So, therefore you (the so called hunters) drop kick the kill with relatively little ease, and with no intentions of bringing back the bear for it's meat, but only just let it rot in the open stream. Wonderful game tactics! Yes, my emotions run high on this tragic episode of ruse games laws that allows this kind of pathethic killing to continue. Not just in Katmai but else where in Alaska. I can remember stories about so called game hunters shooting bears from private planes...etc.. Alaska, in my estimation, only surrenders to the powerful fish & game lobby that allows and wants weak game management laws to be implemented...or not to be heavily enforced. From my close allies in the field of conservation have told me, it's not about game management in's about MONEY!

I've been selected to hunt one of Georgia's state parks to reduce the deer herd population. Hope I have such good luck!

Those bears fear nothing as they know they are on top of the food chain! Thats not a good thing and with that many bears there it wont be long till you start seeing Campers and Hikers start missing!

Lone Hike, these are the same bears that ate Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend. Sounds like they are pretty wild to me.

The link he provided says the bears munching on Treadwell were killed right away. Didn't read his own link.

How do you know that these were the same bears? Were they officially tagged as such?

And what does Timothy Treadwell have to do with this anyway? He got what was coming to him. His demise was a Darwinian masterpiece.

As a ranger I had to constantly remind park visitors that all animals in national parks are wild and untamed, even the cute little chipmunks & squirrels begging for handouts on the overlook railing. Should they also qualify as legitimate targets of oblivion through a rifle sight? After all they bite far more people than bears do and can carry fatal diseases like rabies and the plague. Come on dude, be for real! Talk about your lazy logic!

Your point is meaningless and without connection to this incident.

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