Twenty-six moose have been checked in to Alaska Department of Fish and game this season.
Rich Lowell, Area Wildlife Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said nineteen moose were checked in during the first week, which is close to average for the last 10 years
“Most of the harvest occurs within the first two weeks of the season,” Lowell said.
As of yesterday afternoon, nine moose have been harvested from the Stikine, seven from Kupreanof and five from Mitkof. Although seven were taken from Kupreanof, only four were taken from the Kake region.
“Typically that area will lead the harvest,” Lowell said.
The area has seen logging in recent years and moose populations tend to increase after clear cuts when increased forage draws the animals. But that doesn’t last forever. Lowell said as second growth units begin to come in in regions recently logged, the abundance of moose might decline.
“As the young trees start to crowd out the understory vegetation you’ll see a decline in available forage for moose,” Lowell said. “Moose are also harder to see when they’re in those habitats.”
U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Jason Anderson agrees.
“I can’t speak to the abundance of populations of Kupreanof,” Anderson said. “As the clear cuts have grown up, the moose hunts have become less productive.”
Lowell said over the last ten years about 74 moose have been harvested per season. The record low was 47 moose in 2007 and 2008 and the high was 108 in 2009.
The ADFG liberalized antler restrictions to allow the harvest of bulls that had two brow tines, or the first two divisions of antlers on the animal’s head, on both sides.
During the first week, of the 19 moose that have been harvested, nine of them had two brow tines.
Two moose antlers that were recorded haven’t conformed to state restrictions.