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Wildlife Roundup: Bear calls on the decline, but we're not out of the woods yet

Posted: August 30, 2013 - 12:02am

Welcome to the 2013 Juneau area Wildlife Roundup. For the week of Aug. 26, calls concerning black bear activity remained about the same over the last week.

The majority of calls came from:

• Valley neighborhoods adjacent to Thunder Mountain

• Auke Bay and Fritz Cove

• Lena Point

The number of black bears in 2013 that have been captured and released in a new location remains at two. For 2013, the number of black bears humanely killed totals two, as well.

Black bears continue to be active in Juneau, but calls are beginning to slow down. Bears will continue to feed on salmon where available, and will continue to forage on berries well into the fall. Biologists have documented bears in dens as early as mid-September, so it is likely some local bears will begin moving to den locations in the next few weeks.

Though some bears may be headed to dens in the near future, it is common to have active black bears in Juneau well into October and even November. Many bear-related concerns can be addressed through the proper storage of garbage and the removal of attractants such as fish scraps and waste, bird feeders and pet food. Chicken coops and runs continue to attract bears in the Juneau area; coops and runs should be surrounded by a working electric fence and livestock feed should be stored in a secure, bear resistant structure.

The Alaska Wildlife Troopers continue to investigate two bear killings in the Juneau area. A bear was found dead in the Lena Point area and another along Gastineau Channel, south of downtown. If anyone has information concerning either of the two bears please contact the Alaska Wildlife Troopers at 465-4000 or the Department of Fish and Game at 465-4265. Callers can remain anonymous by calling the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Safeguard hotline at 1-800-478-3377 and may be eligible for a reward.

Hunting seasons are opening around Alaska including the Juneau area. Buck deer season is now open, with the either sex deer season opening on Sept. 15. Black bear season will open Sept. 1, and brown bear season will start Sept. 15. The waterfowl season in Southeast Alaska starts Sept. 16, and Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge waterfowl hunting permits are now available at the Douglas fish and game office and online. Don’t forget to get your 2013 hunting license and the appropriate harvest tickets, tags and permits before going into the field; good luck hunting!

For additional information and questions, please contact the Douglas Area wildlife Office at 465-4265.

• Ryan Scott is a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The intent of this column is to provide Juneau residents updates on wildlife activity in the Juneau area, and general interest wildlife information.

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