We have black bear sightings out the road here in Kake and one of our hunters said they spotted a brown bear here for the first time.
Carl Koch, Wildlife Biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, writes:
Brown bears in the Kake area are unusual as Kurpeanof Island primarily has black bears. It may be more likely that it was a black bear with a cinnamon coat color phase, but anything is possible given their ability to swim--a brown bear could travel from the mainland to Mitkof and then on to Kupreanof. Although bears typically hibernate during winter, they can be out and about during any month of the year, but we can’t say for sure why any specific bears are out during winter. If they haven’t put on enough weight, they sometimes delay hibernation or emerge early in search of food. If bears obtain food such as trash or other human food, they are more likely to remain out of the den and come back for more. One bear researcher told me that inexperienced bears sometimes choose a poor den site and need to find another if, for example, the snow melts and it gets very wet inside. I would strongly advise folks to be diligent about securing attractants such as trash, bird feeders, pet food, livestock, etc. If bears get a reward, they’ll just keep coming back for more.
Comments from LEO Editors:
Pictured below is a figure showing temperature data for the February, 2019 in Kake, showing average temperatures in the upper-20 and low-30 Fahrenheit degree range. Source: Weather Underground Historical DataErica Lujan