The purpose of the Quinault Guided Black Bear (Ursus americanus) Hunting program is to reduce damage caused by bears to coniferous trees on the Quinault Indian Reservation. Annual inventory flights conducted since 1980 suggest that the forests of the Quinault Indian Reservation continue to be damaged by bears feeding on the cambium layer of trees in the spring. Severe bear damage can necessitate the removal of entire stands prior to rotation age, resulting in significant financial impacts to the Quinault people and programs. The Quinault Indian Reservation’s bear population was previously unmanaged due to a lack of tribal harvest and the abundant food source. This Guided Black Bear Hunting program was developed to reduce the black bear population on the Reservation and thus the damage to coniferous trees.
In the beginning of this bear issue, the reservation being logged over many times and the new growth of trees afforded plentiful banquet on cambium growth. With second growth trees that created very healthy environment for the increasing bear population, raising concerns from land owners on the damage done to their trees.
The Quinault Indian Nation then hired a professional hunter in the 40’s with no success so QIN started a bear feeding program with cost the nation roughly 80 thousand a year, barrels were placed in damaged areas and areas that were probable for damage.
I went surveying these barrels with QIN staff and seen upwards of ten bear on these barrels, amazing numbers for the square mileage. It then came to pass that feeding is not the answer, damage was still occurring, its numbers of bear, so a bounty was with little success, then came the idea of guided bear hunts.
Mike Mail and others hashed it out thru the Quinault Council and guides were selected based on there hunting skill and knowledge of the reservation. A ten year report on the timber damage showed over a million dollars in damage to the nation owned timber and about the same to individual landowners timber.