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Illegal moose harvest this season is 'cause for concern'


Hunters shot seven illegal moose during the first week of this year’s hunting season, more than twice that of last year’s first week.

In a press release, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Wildlife Biologist Rich Lowell reported the number of checked-in moose that don’t comply with antler restrictions is disconcerting.

“In a typical season, the harvest of six and nine sublegal moose (or about 10 percent of the overall harvest) would represent the take of illegal moose during the course of the entire season,” Lowell wrote. “With three weeks remaining in the season, the high harvest of seven illegal moose during the first week of the season is cause for concern.”

Four of the seven illegal moose were shot on Mitkof Island. The five illegal moose shot in the Petersburg district will be forfeited for charitable distribution in Petersburg

No additional illegal moose have been reported as of September 30, and hunters have checked in 53 bull moose in total.

“Last year (Fall 2014) at the midpoint of the season, hunters harvested a total of 51 moose (only three of which were illegal) before going on to harvest a near record season total of 106 moose,” Lowell wrote. “The highest recorded harvest during the first half of the season occurred in 2009 when hunters checked-in 57 moose before eventually going on to harvest a record 109 moose.”

Hunters checked in 18 bulls during this season’s second week.

Lowell said although no additional illegal moose have been reported, the high number during the first week remains a concern.

“Antler restrictions are intended to protect the middle aged segment of the bull population for breeding purposes,” Lowell wrote. “If the harvest of illegal bulls continues, it may be necessary to close portions of the RM038 hunt area early.”

Individuals seeking moose tags are required to watch a video, which explains antler architecture and the difference between legal and illegal moose.

According to ADFG regulations, hunters are limited to one bull with spike-fork antlers or 50-inch antlers or antlers with three or more brow tines on at least one side, or two or more brow tines on both sides.

Moose Harvest Data

Kupreanof Island 17 (8 of which were taken in the Kake Area)

Stikine River 15 (includes 2 illegal)

Mitkof Island 10 (includes 4 illegal)

Thomas Bay 7 (includes 1 illegal)

Kuiu Island 1

Farragut Bay 1

Virginia Lake 1

Woewodski Island 1

Total 53 (includes 7 illegals)

Data provided by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game


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