Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Deep snow, high moose winterkill

  1. #1

    Default Deep snow, high moose winterkill

    Any guesses as to what type of an effect all this deep snow is going to have on the local (Southcentral region) moose population? I have noticed a large number of new calves in the last few years. I am concerned that many of them will not make it through the winter. I have read and done some research on moose and the effects that deep snow has on them. Apparently, in the early spring, when the longer daylight starts to melt the upper layer of snow, the upper layer freezes solid overnight. This in turn creates a hard layer of crusty snow on the top. Apparently, this hard layer is not hard enough to hold up a moose, but yet hard enough to hold up wolves. The result is a bloody massacre. Not only that, but the top layer cuts up there legs when they try to run. As a result, they can't move efficiently and end up malnourished. In fact, I even recall hearing that Native Alaskans used to hunt them off of snowshoes in this fashion in the early spring. I am concerned we will have a high moose mortality this year. Anybody else have any general observations or comments to add?

  2. #2
    Member ironartist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Meadow Lakes
    Posts
    1,182

    Default

    talked to a bio at f&g the other day he says 14a should stand at 6500 and is over 8K sure hope the winter isn't too rough with a count like that sounded like some extra future tags
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
    "Rebellion is in my blood, I was born an American"
    Μολών λαβέ

  3. #3
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Talkeetna
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    Snow depths here have settled almost a foot in the last week. After Tuesday before Chrismas the snow was 8" over the top of my 48" tall front fence. Now it's a good 6" below that. The moose are having no issues moving through the snow right now and only time will tell for the spring. This snow level is nothing compared to what we had in the early 80's and we had huge moose populations. It took the winter of 89-90 (8' of spring snow on the level) to really knock out the population. They seemed to do just fine in snow levels below that. Wasilla will get a big blow or rain that will knock snow levels down way before spring.

  4. #4
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Valdez, Alaska
    Posts
    4,402

    Default

    The moose will figure it out. Last week when I drove over to LosAnchorage, there were two feeding in the DOT parking lot and one bedded down on the river bed even before I went 18 miles. A couple of years ago I was headed over to LA again and almost ran into three of them up at Ptarmigan Creek headed down to the 36 mile flats on their way out of Valdez. They had walked right up the Richardson Hwy. and over Thompson Pass. It was a good snow year then too.

    This year we have:

    FOR ALL OF LAST SEASON VALDEZ HAD 215.5 INCHES OF SNOW..ONLY A THIRD
    OF THE NORMAL..SO FAR THIS SEASON THERE HAS BEEN 219.9 INCHES OF THE
    WHITE STUFF AND THE SEASON ISN'T HALF WAY OVER. THE RECORD SEASON OF
    89-90 THERE WAS 218.6 INCHES AS OF THE END OF DECEMBER.

    WE HAVE ALREADY BROKEN THE RECORD FOR DECEMBER WITH 145.5 INCHES SO
    FAR..THE OLD RECORD WAS 137.1 SET IN 1991.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by whitepalm View Post
    I'd venture it's too early to say. Snow depths vary wildly across the region and 10 days from now it could be 45*.
    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    Snow depths here have settled almost a foot in the last week. After Tuesday before Chrismas the snow was 8" over the top of my 48" tall front fence. Now it's a good 6" below that. The moose are having no issues moving through the snow right now and only time will tell for the spring. This snow level is nothing compared to what we had in the early 80's and we had huge moose populations. It took the winter of 89-90 (8' of spring snow on the level) to really knock out the population. They seemed to do just fine in snow levels below that. Wasilla will get a big blow or rain that will knock snow levels down way before spring.
    Still skeptical? With roofs caving in at Cordova and another foot expected in the valley in the next couple days, I don't know how much more we can take before the moose are up their chests in snow. It'll be easy picking for the wolves. Just saying. I hope I am dead wrong, but I'm a little concerned about what the mortality rate of moose will be this winter and spring.

  6. #6
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Tanana Valley AK
    Posts
    7,216

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Still skeptical? With roofs caving in at Cordova...I don't know how much more we can take before the moose are up their chests in snow....
    There are moose in Cordova? Yup, still skeptical.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
    #Resist

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    There are moose in Cordova? Yup, still skeptical.
    As a matter of fact, there are moose in Cordova. And I heard they are pretty good size too. But that is beside the point. I never said the snow was going to affect the moose in Cordova.

    http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/are...va-hunting.htm

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    There are moose in Cordova? Yup, still skeptical.
    ??? Unbelievable ??? Wow, I thought the Trophy Moose in Cordova were well known to all, especially well read Alaskans.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
    ~~Abraham Lincoln~~

  9. #9
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Tanana Valley AK
    Posts
    7,216

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    ??? Unbelievable ??? Wow, I thought the Trophy Moose in Cordova were well known to all, especially well read Alaskans.
    Never seen a moose in Cordova. Also never said "unbelievable". ;-)
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
    #Resist

  10. #10
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Talkeetna
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    We'll see what happens. On my run to Anchorage yesterday I spotted a dozen moose yesterday from my semi. They really don't like the sound my truck makes which makes them run. They are literally RUNNING through the snow we currently have up here and we have twice the snow the Big Lake area has and three times as much as the Wasilla area. They are having ZERO problems getting around at this point.

  11. #11
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    20B
    Posts
    1,379

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    FOR ALL OF LAST SEASON VALDEZ HAD 215.5 INCHES OF SNOW..ONLY A THIRD
    OF THE NORMAL..SO FAR THIS SEASON THERE HAS BEEN 219.9 INCHES OF THE
    WHITE STUFF AND THE SEASON ISN'T HALF WAY OVER. THE RECORD SEASON OF
    89-90 THERE WAS 218.6 INCHES AS OF THE END OF DECEMBER.

    WE HAVE ALREADY BROKEN THE RECORD FOR DECEMBER WITH 145.5 INCHES SO
    FAR..THE OLD RECORD WAS 137.1 SET IN 1991.
    I'm going to preface this by saying that I am bad at math, but follow along...
    215" is last year's total and 1/3 of the "normal," which indicates that 645" (53') is the usual snow total for a season in Valdez. Fortunately, with the season half over and only 219" on the ground, the poor, tired little town is on pace to fall well short of a "normal" season, even with the current snowpocalypse. Sounds like a reason to celebrate and certainly sounds like no cause for alarm with regard to the hardy moose.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


  12. #12
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    11,415

    Default

    The Palmer/wasilla area is certainly in no danger. I have little doubt that the Cordova and Valdez animals know where to go to winter over during high snow years as high snow is the norm down there.

  13. #13
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Talkeetna
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    This is the kind of year that really defines carrying capacity.

  14. #14
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Valdez, Alaska
    Posts
    4,402

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    I'm going to preface this by saying that I am bad at math, but follow along...
    215" is last year's total and 1/3 of the "normal," which indicates that 645" (53') is the usual snow total for a season in Valdez. Fortunately, with the season half over and only 219" on the ground, the poor, tired little town is on pace to fall well short of a "normal" season, even with the current snowpocalypse. Sounds like a reason to celebrate and certainly sounds like no cause for alarm with regard to the hardy moose.
    I copied that from the NOAA page. Yes re-reading the numbers it looks like they are off. I think we are at 315" right now. I know the five feet I am taking off a friends roof feels more like ten. It is interesting to have a block get together by talking to all the neighbors from one roof to another as we shovel roofs off. My one friend has a trail from the edge of the roof out across the yard that he dumps the snow in the street. If it snow again, his roof will be level with the snow piles.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •