Also, in an e-mail we received from FORT on March 20, we learned that the approved spring licenses are being distributed in a puzzling fashion. Seems the government has snubbed several of the largest and most important outfitters by giving them few or no licenses at all. The majority of licenses were assigned to a handful of other major outfitters and numerous small operators that FORT says are practically unknown in the hunting business. Up to 15 licenses are going to minority groups that have never been involved in international hunting at all. The distribution seems at least partly politically motivated, as many of the key outfitters who worked to get the season opened last year are those left at the bottom of the list this spring. This all means that some of the outfitters who postponed hunts from last year to this spring will not be able to fulfill their obligations to clients through no fault of their own.
FORT has already protested the quota and planned distribution, calling for an increase in the spring quota. Only 53 bears from the fall 2005 quota of 240 were taken, so FORT is demanding that the unused fall licenses be applied to this spring's hunt. The group was successful in convincing the Koriak Game Department to send an official request to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture to increase the quota to 150 bears for this spring. About 130 hunters are currently competing for the 60 available licenses. Obviously, FORT will work to get any additional licenses issued to........(continued)