Wrangell Sentinel -

By Dan Rudy 

Deer, elk seasons open for Petersburg-Wrangell areas


Deer hunting season began for Alaska residents and nonresidents in much of the Unit 3 management area last Saturday, lasting through Nov. 30.

Bow hunting on Mitkof Island and the Petersburg Management Area, hunting on the remainder of the Mitkof, Woewodski and Butterworth islands, and residential hunting on the Lindenberg Peninsula portion of Kupreanof Island all begin on Oct. 15, and are subject to other limitations.

Outlooks for this year’s season for Sitka black-tailed deer are much the same as last year, with smaller harvests expected than average.

“We’re still in the same situation we’ve been in the last several years,” explained Rich Lowell, wildlife biologist for Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In 2013, around 800 hunters reported harvesting 476 deer, down from 852 in 2003.

Deer populations on islands in the area have lately been at around half of what they had been a decade ago, and while Lowell said there have been some improvements on Etolin and Zarembo islands. Elsewhere, numbers have remained static.

However, Lowell said deer populations may see slight improvements this season due to a largely snow-free winter; snowpack was at around a quarter of its usual average.

“That should help with overwinter survival,” he suggested.

Harvest tickets must be validated in sequential order, and unused tickets carried while hunting.

State-restricted areas this season include the Wrangell road system, which is closed to big game. This encompasses a strip one quarter-mile wide on each side of Zimovia Highway from town to the Tongass National Forest Service boundary.

The Blind Slough closed area is a quarter-mile wide strip on each side of the slough from the hunting closure markers at Milepost 15.1 of Mitkof Highway to the hunting closure markers at Milepost 18.4. These include the waters of Blind Slough between those hunting closure markers.

The elk season also began for parts of Unit 3, to last through the calendar year’s end. Zarembo, Bushy and Shrubby islands and the Kashevarofs will not have a season this year, while the bow season for the Etolin Island area begins Sept. 1 and lasts through the month. Hunters are to report harvested elk to the Petersburg ADFG office at 772-3801 within five days.

Elk have also been elusive to area hunters; Lowell said there had been only one unverified report filed for Unit 3 last year.

“It’s not going to be a great deal better than it was last year,” he said.

The wolf season also began Saturday, with a limit of five wolves per hunter through its end on May 31, 2016. No nonresident tags are required to participate, but hides must be brought in within 30 days of a kill to any ADFG officer or designated agents for sealing.

Seasons for black bear, wolverine and moose will all begin next month. An estimate for this year’s moose population is unavailable, as an aerial survey could not be conducted over the winter due primarily to a lack of snow cover.

For a full copy of the 2015-16 regulations booklet, visit your local ADFG office or download a digital copy from http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildliferegulations.hunting.


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