Grizzly bear on Swan Lake Flats; photo credit: Jim Peaco, NPS

Alaska Cancels Early-Season Bear Hunts

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Alaska canceled all early-spring bear hunts.

Spring bear hunts were scheduled to start next week in Alaska. But even America’s last frontier isn’t immune to COVID-19. Alaska Fish and Game shut down both black and brown bear seasons through May 31 in an effort to curb the transmission of the virus.

The shutdown affects both resident and nonresident tag-holders. However, the hunt remains open to resident subsistence hunters that depend on spring bear meat to fill their freezers. Alaska Fish and Game plans to identify future opportunities for hunters that hold tags and have made accommodations.

According to the Kodiak Daily Mirror, the loss of the hunting season could cost the region more than $3 million.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected several other hunting and fishing seasons in the U.S. already. Other seasons affected include Nebraska’s turkey hunt and Washington’s spring bear and turkey hunts and fishing season.

Nicole Qualtieri

Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. She also serves as a Board Director for Orion the Hunters Insititute, a non-profit promoting fair chase and hunting ethics nationwide. A DIY hunter, she comes from a non-traditional hunting background and began hunting and fishing in her 30s. She's been a voice for hunting, fishing, and conservation since 2014, when she got started working on the television show MeatEater. She's an avid horsewoman, bird dog aficionado, snowboarder, hiker/backpacker, food nerd, and all-around outdoorswoman. Find her online at @nkqualtieri.