DumbLaws.com claim:

While it is legal to shoot bears, waking a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a photograph is prohibited.

The Gray Line Alaska blog repeats the claim.

There is also a Quora question asking why, with no answers.

Is it illegal in Alaska to wake a bear, but legal to shoot one?

  • 1
    Downvoters: Is it because this is obviously wrong/right/misleading? I have never been in the US and have no idea about what the US laws are like. Even in the comments, some assume it's a safety rule, some assume it's about animal cruelty.
    – user23013
    Jun 15, 2019 at 0:58
  • 2
    Please don't use comments as an opportunity to guess at answers.
    – Oddthinking
    Jun 16, 2019 at 23:37
  • @user23013 I did not downvote. I assume the downvotes are because people believe your question, even if answered, has no practical use for the general person. Jun 23, 2019 at 17:39
  • The reasons for the downvotes were explained in comments, but the comments were deleted. Jun 27, 2019 at 2:07
  • Whether or not its allowed, it's probably unwise - let sleeping d̶o̶g̶s̶ bears lie
    – Baldrickk
    Jul 10, 2019 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


With the appropriate licence or legal right to hunt them, it's legal to harvest bears; there's nothing saying that the animal has to be awake to do so (see Alaska hunting regulations). I'm not aware of any hunting regulation anywhere, Alaska or otherwise, that says an animal has to be awake before you can kill it legally. There are regulations regarding disturbance to wildlife you don't intend on killing: for example, Alaska Statute Title 16 Fish and Game; Chapter 05 Fish and Game Code; Article 7 General Provisions

Section 16.05.920. Prohibited conduct generally (wildlife “take” or harassment).

(a) Unless permitted by AS 16.05 - AS 16.40 or by regulation adopted under AS 16.05 - AS 16.40, a person may not take, possess, transport, sell, offer to sell, purchase, or offer to purchase fish, game, or marine aquatic plants, or any part of fish, game, or aquatic plants, or a nest or egg of fish or game.

Section 16.05.940. Definitions

In AS 16.05 - AS 16.40 (33) "take" means taking, pursuing, hunting, fishing, trapping, or in any manner disturbing, capturing, or killing or attempting to take, pursue, hunt, fish, trap, or in any manner capture or kill fish or game;

Rules such as that are rather common, at least in North America, not just Alaska.

So while the combination of the two might seem odd, it really isn't. And it wouldn't be confined to Alaska. I work in environmental assessment in Canada and we routinely issue terms and conditions that you can't go near bird nesting areas to avoid disturbing them, yet people able to legally harvest bird eggs obviously can.

  • To be a legitimate answer on Skeptics you need to cite chapter/verse of Alaskan code, preferably with links. Jun 27, 2019 at 1:10
  • What @DanielRHicks said, if you don't cite your answer this will most likely be downvoted and removed.
    – DenisS
    Jun 27, 2019 at 1:20
  • 4
    You want a citation on something that's not prohibited? Jun 27, 2019 at 5:30

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