Temporary brown bear hunting closure opposed

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge brown bear. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge brown bear. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

A proposed temporary closure of brown bear hunting inside the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is drawing opposition.

Federal officials have proposed closing brown bear hunting this season to give the population a chance to recover. Citing state data, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says 168 brown bears, including 42 adult sows, have been killed in the last three years.

The Peninsula Clarion reports that to date this year, 54 brown bears have been killed, including five adult sows. Fish and Game has set a cap to not exceed 70 bears and that adult sow mortalities not exceed 17.

But locals at a hearing about the closure said Fish and Wildlife Service is overstepping control with a proposed closure on the refuge. State fish and game officials say federal officials are not considering complaints from locals who say encounters with brown bears are increasing.