Reminder: Prince William Sound Black Bear Hunting Season Closes May 27
- ADF&G Press Release

Sam Cotten, Commissioner
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, Alaska 99811-5526

Press Release: May 19, 2015

Contact: Charlotte Westing, Area Wildlife Biologist, Cordova, (907) 424-3215

Reminder: Prince William Sound Black Bear Hunting Season Closes May 27

(Cordova) — Hunters in Prince William Sound Game Management Subunit 6D are reminded that the spring black bear hunting season closes by emergency order on May 27, 2015, at 11:59 p.m., two weeks earlier than usual.

Concerns over a prolonged black bear population decline in Prince William Sound led area wildlife managers to take action to prevent overharvest by shortening the 2015 spring hunting season. Black bear harvests in Subunit 6D, which encompasses coastal areas surrounding Whittier, Valdez and Cordova, nearly tripled from the late 1990s to 2007 and have steadily declined since. Records also indicate that harvests in regulatory years 2012 and 2013 fell 25 percent and 47 percent, respectively, below the previous regulatory year.

Another red flag for wildlife managers is the growing number of black bear sows being taken by area hunters. “The percentage of females in the harvest has increased to over 40 percent the last three regulatory years and has exceeded management objectives each year since 2006,” said Area Wildlife Biologist Charlotte Westing.

Anecdotal reports from a diverse group of users suggest a decline in bears during the last decade. Also, exceptional weather during three of the last five years may have impacted black bear behavior, availability and possibly survival.

Hunters can help conserve black bears by avoiding harvesting sows and selectively taking mature boars only. Selective harvest tips are provided on the Division of Wildlife Conservation webpages at and

The emergency order is the first in a series of actions aimed to reduce the harvest of black bears in Prince William Sound. The Alaska Board of Game recently adopted a regulation to put in place a registration hunt starting in the fall of 2015. Details will be provided at a later date.

For more information on the Subunit 6D emergency closure, contact Charlotte Westing at (907) 424-3215 or