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By Dan Rudy 

Moose hunting season set to start, numbers good

 


The month long moose hunting season is ready to begin next week, opening on September 15 and lasting until October 15.

For the Wrangell, Petersburg and Kake game unit, last year’s moose season turned out being the third best on record according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game harvest data. Area hunters had a 13-percent success rate, with 103 males harvested by 772 participating hunters. A total of 1,061 permits had been issued.

After a reasonably mild winter, the moose population appears to be doing well. An aerial survey of the Stikine River was conducted by Petersburg-based state biologists in mid-November. Though snow coverage was on the thin side, ADFG regional supervisor Ryan Scott said the team had gotten a good, representative survey of the population.

The ratio of bulls to cows was positive, at about 21 males for every 100 females.

“We try to keep it in that 20 to 25 range,” Scott explained.

Observed calves averaged around 24 per 100 cows, or about 17 percent overall in the survey.

“We’d always love to see more calves but it wasn’t bad,” Scott said. Due to positive weather, he expected the population will have had a productive spring and summer. “I would anticipate a pretty good moose season for folks,” he concluded.

In last year’s season, Kupreanof Island proved to be a popular ground for area hunters, in part due to the presence of roads and a growing moose population. Forty moose were taken on the island, with a minimal number failing to comply with local antler restrictions.

Regulatory changes to the definition of what constitutes a point by the Board of Game were adopted in July, and will be in effect this season. The proposal was put forward by the local advisory committee, and is hoped to help reduce the number of harvested moose confiscated for not meeting the criteria.

In the change, the definition of spike-fork antlers was updated to read as “antlers of a bull moose with only one or two tines on at least one antler, a point or tine originating within two inches of the base of the antler and less than three inches in length will not be counted as a tine; male calves are not considered spike bulls.”

The Wrangell game committee had felt a moose’s burl points were difficult for a hunter to see when under three inches as they could be hidden by hair or an ear. Previously, these were still counted as a point, leading to a number of moose being confiscated. Early on in the season last year, about 20 percent of moose taken by hunters in Unit 3 turned out not to meet regulation.

For bow hunters, the elk season on Etolin Island opened up on September 1. Hunters are able to harvest one bull by permit, provided they only use a bow and arrow to do so. Participation in the early hunt tends to be small, with a low success rate. Last year two Wrangell-area hunters had permits but did not participate. Statewide, only 25 permits were issued, and six bow hunters participated, with a zero-percent success rate.

For hunters preferring participation with firearms, the regular elk season opens up for Etolin on October 1, lasting through to October 31. Otherwise, areas in the unit excluding Etolin, Zarembo, Bushy, Shrubby and Kashevarof islands have been open to elk since August 1. Surveying the population, Scott said numbers on local elk have been recently collected but will not be available until later in the month.

The deer season, underway in most areas, opens up on the remainder of Mitkof, Woewodski and Butterworth islands on October 15. For more information on this year’s regulations, openings, and other statistics, visit the http://www.adfg.alaska.gov website.

Those who obtained permits are reminded to submit their completed moose season reports to any ADFG office, whether in person or by mail. Those who do not hunt or are unsuccessful can report their activity online as well on the ADFG site.

 

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