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1 May 2013 Black bear baiting in Alaska and in Alaska's National Park Service lands, 1992–2010
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Abstract
We assessed American black bear (Ursus americanus) harvest trends, generally, and black bear harvest over bait, specifically, in Alaska from 1992 to 2010 at 3 spatial scales: statewide, on drainages adjacent to and including National Park Service (NPS) units, and on NPS lands. Statewide, black bear reported harvest increased by an average of 93 bears/year, and harvest over bait increased by an average of 21 bears/year over this period. Harvest over bait increased by 4.3% (SE  =  4.3) annually, and harvest by other methods increased by 3.9%/year (SE  =  3.1). The proportion of females harvested over bait was 30.9% compared to 26.4% by other methods. Harvest increased around Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, while other units and adjacent lands had stable or decreasing harvest rates. Few bears were harvested using bait on NPS units (≤37 bears; <2 bears/year) with ≤34 (91.9%) of these bears harvested in Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Only 3 bears were harvested over bait by rural Alaska residents from NPS lands from 1992 to 2010. Thus, little to no population-level effects arose from the practice of bear baiting on NPS lands. Rather, the complexity surrounding the practice of bear baiting is centered on the management goals of minimizing food-conditioning of bears, fostering public safety, preventing defense of life and property killing of individual bears, and maintaining natural processes and behaviors. We recommend application of the formal field of conservation ethics and argument analysis as one path forward in assessing policy on bear baiting on Alaskan NPS units and recommend that the issue of harvesting bears over bait on NPS lands not be falsely characterized as a conservation or population management issue.
International Association for Bear Research and Management
Grant V. Hilderbrand, Sanford P. Rabinowitch and Dave Mills "Black bear baiting in Alaska and in Alaska's National Park Service lands, 1992–2010," Ursus 24(1), (1 May 2013). https://doi.org/10.2192/URSUS-D-12-00023.1
Received: 10 August 2012; Accepted: 1 February 2013; Published: 1 May 2013
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