The National Park Service (NPS) will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, December 12 on proposed changes to sport hunting regulations for Denali National Preserve. The proposed changes would prohibit taking brown bears over bait stations, using artificial light to take black bears at dens, taking black bear cubs and sows with cubs, and would shorten the season for hunting wolves and coyotes.

The proposed restrictions renew a previous temporary prohibition on taking black bears at dens and black bear cubs and sows with cubs.  The
restrictions also respond to recent changes to State of Alaska hunting regulations. Those changes included allowing the killing of brown bears
over bait stations in three game management units, which included portions of three National Preserves. The proposed prohibition reflects the NPS
concerns about the dangers of food conditioned bears as well as the potential impact to the natural abundance, behavior, distribution, and ecological integrity of brown bear populations.

The State has also extended the hunting season for wolves and coyotes into the summer in several areas, including nine National Preserves. The NPS is proposing to prohibit the take between May 1 and August 9 because it is the period when wolves and coyotes are denning and raising offspring and their pelts have little trophy or economic value.

The hearing is the first step leading to the potential implementation of restrictions in the annual Superintendent’s Compendium, an annual
compilation of temporary closures and similar restrictions. After taking into consideration public comments, the National Park Service may include
hunting restrictions in the draft Compendium, which will be released on January 15, 2013. The text for all of the Alaska compendiums will be posted on www.nps.gov/akso/compendiums.  A 30-day public comment period will also be held for the draft compendiums, with a final compendium expected to go into effect on April 1, 2013.

The Denali Preserve hearing will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali National Park.

Image courtesy National Park Service

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