Brown Bear Hunt Canceled In Unit 22C

The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

State Closes Nonresident DB685 and Resident RB670 Brown Bear Hunt in Unit 22(C)

(Nome) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announces an emergency order to close the State resident season for brown bears by registration permit RB670 and the nonresident brown bear season for brown bears by drawing permit DB685 in Unit 22(C) at 11:59pm on May 17, 2024.

Brown bear harvest in Unit 22(C) has steadily increased in response to regulatory changes adopted by the Board of Game that increased brown bear hunting opportunity through the liberalization of brown bear hunting regulations.

Prior to the adoption of these liberalizations, the average annual Unit 22(C) brown bear harvest was 8 bears per year RY1990-RY1997. This increased to an average annual harvest of 16 bears per year RY1998-RY2011 in response to regulatory liberalizations adopted by the board.

More recent changes to season dates and bag limits further liberalized hunting regulations in the area and are believed to have resulted in an increase in the Unit 22C brown bear harvest. During RY2012-RY2018 Unit 22C bear harvest ranged from 17-38 bears annually with an average annual harvest of 25 bears.

In 2020, the Board of Game adopted regulations to implement a registration permit in Unit 22(C) in order to monitor harvest and hunting effort more closely and allow the department to close the Unit 22(C) brown bear season when harvest meets or exceeds historic harvest levels.

As of May 16, 2024 the combined fall and spring reported harvest of brown bears from Unit 22(C) is 25 bears. This emergency closure is intended to maintain the harvest at the level observed RY2012-RY2018 and will allow the department to continue to evaluate the effect of the increased Unit 22(C) harvest.

All other brown bear hunting regulations in Unit 22 remain unchanged by this emergency order.