New regulations adopted for Alaskan bear hunters who missed spring season

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) As many had to adjust their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, bear hunters also saw changes during the spring season.

Travel restrictions prevented non-residents, both Alaskan and out-of-state, to successfully hunt bears during the spring season.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Board of Game adopted new regulations last week for those who were unable to hunt in the spring of 2020. According to a press release, a synopsis of the Board of Game actions include:

-Opening a spring 2021 brown bear registration hunt in Game Management Unit 9.
-Provide resident brown bear hunters in Unit 8 the opportunity to use drawing permits in Spring 2022.
-Provide nonresident brown bear hunters in Unit 8 the opportunity to use drawing permits in Spring 2021.
-Provide nonresident black bear hunters in Southeast the opportunity to use drawing permits in Spring 2022.
-Provide nonresident brown bear hunters in Unit 22 the opportunity to use drawing permits in Spring 2021

"It didn't work out to where it would be one size fits all," said Ryan Scott, Assistant Director of Wildlife Conservation with ADF&G. "We realized that very early that some of the hunts have very specific requirements and they're in place for a reason and the number of permits available are there for management purposes. We ended up looking at Spring 2021 and Spring 2022 as places that we could take the Spring 2020 permits and move them."

Two hunting areas remained unchanged for future season. The board did not take any action on Unit 14C, around the Anchorage area, and Unit 26B, on the North Slope.

"We looked at the hunt data for both of those areas and the hunt data indicated that majority of residents were the hunters there so they had the opportunity to actually hunt if they could make it work," said Scott. "In addition to that, several of those hunts actually open in the fall and then run through the spring and many of the hunters had already taken advantage of the opportunity in the fall. So, the board didn't feel there was a need to carry those forward and make those future opportunities available. Essentially, everybody that had those permits had already hunted."

Although many hunters were restricted this spring, that does not mean there was not bear hunting activity, according to Scott.

"Lots of people figured out how to go bear hunting and even how to maneuver within the travel mandates to make sure they met the requirements, but were still able to take advantage of the opportunity."

Scott says the new regulations won't affect hunting within the Interior, but rather individual hunters from the Interior who travel for bear hunts.

Additional information can be found on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website.

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