COVID-19 is canceling things left and right. For the most part, states have allowed hunting and fishing to continue with only minor cancelations with the exceptions being Washington and Illinois. But now we can add Alaska to the exceptions list when they announced they are canceling spring bear hunting.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the following on their website on April 1, 2020:
“For the safety of Alaska’s communities, and especially individuals most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Doug Vincent-Lang has directed the Division of Wildlife Conservation to close all black and brown bear hunts statewide for both resident and nonresident hunters, effective now through May 31. This decision will be reevaluated as necessary. All subsistence bear hunts will remain open as a way for residents to have an opportunity to fill freezers and provide for families. The Department of Fish and Game will work with the Board of Game to identify future options for hunters who are planning to come to Alaska this spring, or for residents who have already made arrangements, but will be unable to hunt as planned. Expect to hear more from the department in the near future, and please be patient with the department as they identify ways to minimize the impacts of this decision. Alaska’s wild resources are of vital importance to many throughout the state, and we will make sure opportunities to safely, responsibly and sustainably harvest these resources continue.”
It seems that the department wants to reduce people traveling to hunting areas in order to help contain the virus. Alaska contains a lot of small communities with not a lot of medical facilities and a spike in illnesses could quickly overextend them.