Welcome to the 2013 Juneau area Wildlife Roundup. For the week of Sept. 9, calls concerning black bear activity have started to decline as we transition into fall and bears prepare for hibernation. Most calls came from Auke Bay and Fritz Cove with just a few other sightings from other areas in Juneau.
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.
Bears will continue to feed on salmon where available and forage on berries and roots 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. The reduced bear activity does not mean we should relax our efforts to secure garbage, use electric fences on chicken coops and keep the bird feeders put away.
In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and Juneau Ranger District staff, local wildlife managers recently completed marking four black bears with GPS equipped radio collars near the Mendenhall Glacier. The collars are programmed to collect location information every thirty minutes during the summer which will provide very detailed information on how black bears use the visitor center and recreation area. The collar data will also be used to assess how black bears interface with wild (recreation area) and urban (neighborhoods) settings. The collars will remain on the bears for two years and at last check all were functioning properly and actively collecting data.
Hunting seasons are opening around Alaska including the Juneau area. Buck deer season is now open, with the either sex deer season opening on Sunday, Sept. 15. Black bear season opened Sept. 1, and brown bear season will start Sept. 15. Many of the remaining mountain goat hunts will also start on Sept. 15, but a few will stay closed until Oct. 1. The waterfowl season in Southeast Alaska starts Sept. 16 (shooting time starts at 6 a.m. in Juneau), and Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge waterfowl hunting permits are now available at the Douglas ADF&G 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!
On Sept. 1 Greg Brown, the chairman of the Juneau-Douglas Fish and Game Advisory Committee, and member of the Juneau Bear Committee, passed away. Along with his wife Tina, Greg was a tireless advocate for Juneau and Alaska’s wildlife; and I was constantly impressed with Greg’s ingenuity and energy. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Greg and I know he will be missed by many.
• 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.