Kenai bears waking from hibernation

Posted: Monday, April 12, 2010

KENAI - Wildlife officials on the Kenai Peninsula have received a couple of reports that bears are waking up and beginning to move around.

Jeff Selinger with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said wake-up varies from year to year, but generally late March to early April is when bears emerge from their winter dens. Leaving the den is brought on each spring by more daylight, warmer weather and dens getting soggy from melting snow.

Selinger said by this time, the bears also have burned up their fat reserves put on before going into hibernation.

"We had a few reports from trappers that started seeing tracks at the end of trapping season, and biologists flying over the Chugach area saw bear out last week," Selinger said. "They're not abundant yet, but they're definitely coming out."

The weather predictions for the coming week are calling for daytime highs that should bring more bears out of hibernation.

"With these 40- to 45-degree days," he said, "we'll see a pulse of them coming out, particularly at lower elevations."

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