Managing wildlife with Karelian bear dogs

Managing wildlife with Karelian bear dogs

As the boundaries blur between human activity and wildlife habitat, government agencies look for ways to humanely manage close encounters, especially with large animals like bears.

To that end, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife developed the Karelian Bear Dog Program. Originally from Scandinavia, Karelian bear dogs are husky-sized with black and white markings. They’re easy-going around people but intrepid hunters on the trail. However, instead of attacking and killing bears, they get in a bear’s face and bark incessantly until it leaves.

And they’re quite effective. While about 50 percent of bears are scared off for a month or so by deterrents like pepper spray, explosive noises or rubber bullets, bears hazed by dogs stay away up to three times longer.

But think twice before making a Karelian a pet. They rarely relax, and you won’t either, because everything’s a hunt.

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