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Thread: Unit 15A Kenai wolf control article

  1. #1
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Unit 15A Kenai wolf control article

    http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/201...ill-15a-wolves

    Well now I've heard everything <grin>. I can't wait for some kind of correction to this to come from ADFG. An excerpt:

    By killing predators, Fish and Game hopes to boost unit 15A’s declining moose population, Herreman said. But that will not happen, he said.
    “The important part to get out here is that predator control is not going to increase moose populations in (unit) 15A,” Herreman said.

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    What a terribly written article. Almost every sentence ending with "he said".....

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    Welcome to our local fish wrapper. When it comes to anything fishing or hunting related, they're typically clueless.

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    Jason and Jeff Selinger have been saying this stuff for a while...but then, who listens to bios?
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    Jason and Jeff Selinger have been saying this stuff for a while...but then, who listens to bios?
    If it doesn't agree with abundance management, they don't listen. They've lost all credibility.
    An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default ADFG issue press release clarifying Kenai control efforts

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...ses.pr08092013

    I got a picture with this too, of the one area that underwent habitat enhancement, but it's too large to post.

    Press Release: August 9, 2013
    Contact: Larry Van Daele, Regional Supervisor, (907) 486-1876, larry.vandaele@alaska.gov
    ADF&G Announces Multifaceted Effort to Rebuild Kenai Peninsula Moose Populations

    (Soldotna) – “The department will initiate an intensive management program to rebuild declining moose populations on the Kenai Peninsula,” said Doug Vincent-Lang, Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation. “This will include a combination of treatments aimed at reducing predation on moose, improving moose habitat, and conserving existing moose.”

    Authorized by the Alaska Board of Game in response to depressed moose numbers and robust public testimony in Soldotna last March, the program includes partnering with landholders to enhance and increase available moose browse by clearing mature forests; trapping and hunting wolves; liberalizing regulations for hunting bears; and reducing moose mortality by minimizing poaching, road kills, and by closely regulating legal moose hunting.

    The moose population in Subunit 15A, which encompasses the Kenai Peninsula north of the Sterling Highway from Nikiski east to the Kenai Mountains, is well below population and harvest objectives due largely to poor habitat conditions and predation. Surveys in February found about 1,300 to 1,800 moose in 15A, far below the subunit’s population objective of 3,000 to 3,500. Almost 2,100 moose were estimated to be in the subunit as recently as 2008, further illustrating the ongoing decline.

    “When the board approved this program, we were very specific,” said Board of Game Chairman Ted Spraker. “We all agreed that we will have to have habitat enhancement to reach and maintain population objectives.”

    While the existing habitat conditions may be adequate to sustain current low moose numbers in Subunit 15A, as indicated by high twinning rates among other hallmarks, these conditions will continue to decline if nothing is done. Research has also revealed that predation is playing an important role in the current moose decline. “What the board decided to do was reduce wolf numbers to arrest the moose population decline and give ourselves more time to work on habitat enhancement,” Spraker said.

    The decline of moose in Subunit 15A in recent years has been linked primarily to a lack of second-growth trees and shrubs the animals depend upon for food. Historically, second growth was generated by wildfires which burned periodically across the Kenai Peninsula. Most recently, large wildfires on the Kenai Peninsula in 1947 and 1969 created broad expanses of moose range, much of which has since developed into mature forest. The benefits of wildfires to moose habitat decline sharply after about 20 years.

    Habitat enhancement is a program cornerstone to increase moose numbers in Subunit 15A and early work has already begun with the cooperation of landowners. The department recently partnered with the Kenai Natives Association (KNA) to create moose browse on KNA land. Funded with a portion of a $250,000 appropriation by the Alaska State Legislature to enhance moose habitat on the Kenai Peninsula and in the Matanuska-Susitna valleys, 85 acres were cleared this spring on KNA lands north of Sterling off Swanson River Road.

    “The treatment was effective,” says ADF&G Program Coordinator Sue Rodman who recently monitored the cleared area. “Aspen seedlings are growing across the site in addition to birch seedlings and other shrub species important to moose.”

    The department continues to work with federal and private land owners to develop plans to improve the region’s moose habitat on the larger scale needed to reach population objectives. Options for future habitat reclamation efforts could include controlled burns and mechanical clearing of mature forest areas.

    To reduce predation on area moose, hunters and trappers will be encouraged to increase their wolf and bear harvests through established seasons, methods and means. In addition, the board authorized the department to retain a professional trapper to implement ground-based wolf removal operations in an 83-square-mile control area on state and private lands.

    Ground-based wolf reduction efforts may also be supplemented by limited aerial monitoring and control. If weather conditions are favorable, local survey pilots will be chartered to determine if wolves are within the control area and whether they can be safely removed by department-authorized pilots and gunners. Department-sponsored wolf control will only be conducted on a small portion of 15A, so there is little chance that it will jeopardize the sustainability of the subunit’s wolf population. Efforts will be focused near habitat treatment areas to reduce predation on moose that are benefitting from improved habitat in those areas.

    In recent years, local advisory committees have worked with the department and the board to develop restrictive hunting regulations to protect remaining moose. Current hunting regulations allow hunters to take only bulls with a spike antler on at least one side, or antlers with minimum 50-inch spreads or featuring four or more brow tines on at least one side.

    Biologists are also working with the Department of Transportation and several non-profit conservation groups to remove brush and trees along area highways to increase moose visibility for drivers and discourage moose from congregating along busy thoroughfares.

    “Rebuilding the Kenai moose population to historic levels will require a comprehensive and cooperative program that includes several agencies, land managers and local residents,” said Director Vincent-Lang.

    “No single element of this program is expected, by itself, to achieve our goal of increasing moose numbers in 15A,” Vincent-Lang added. “Meeting our goal will require cooperation from landowners and implementation of all facets of the program.”

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    Why have the season closed APRIL 30 through AUG. 10'th, why not just have "No Closed Season". Further......why no allow anyone to shoot'them and leave'them........Something will eat'them...........Scrap the need to get them sealed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    The moose population in Subunit 15A, which encompasses the Kenai Peninsula north of the Sterling Highway from Nikiski east to the Kenai Mountains, is well below population and harvest objectives due largely to poor habitat conditions and predation. Surveys in February found about 1,300 to 1,800 moose in 15A, far below the subunit’s population objective of 3,000 to 3,500. Almost 2,100 moose were estimated to be in the subunit as recently as 2008, further illustrating the ongoing decline.
    Doesn't this statement tell us that their objective is unrealistic at this time due to habitat conditions? The objective should be based on what the habitat can sustain not wishful thinking based on what it once produced when the habitat was better. If they actually got the herd up to the objective by killing predators, lowering hunter success, and dropping the highway deaths, the habitat couldn't handle that number of moose and further damage could be done to the long term health of the herd. They are putting the cart before the horse. They need to figure out how they are going to improve the habitat first and actually do it before they attempt to grow the herd. And they need to improve 10's of thousands of acres, not 85 acres.

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    “When the board approved this program, we were very specific,” said Board of Game Chairman Ted Spraker. “We all agreed that we will have to have habitat enhancement to reach and maintain population objectives.”

    While the existing habitat conditions may be adequate to sustain current low moose numbers in Subunit 15A, as indicated by high twinning rates among other hallmarks, these conditions will continue to decline if nothing is done. Research has also revealed that predation is playing an important role in the current moose decline. “What the board decided to do was reduce wolf numbers to arrest the moose population decline and give ourselves more time to work on habitat enhancement,” Spraker said.

    The decline of moose in Subunit 15A in recent years has been linked primarily to a lack of second-growth trees and shrubs the animals depend upon for food. Historically, second growth was generated by wildfires which burned periodically across the Kenai Peninsula. Most recently, large wildfires on the Kenai Peninsula in 1947 and 1969 created broad expanses of moose range, much of which has since developed into mature forest. The benefits of wildfires to moose habitat decline sharply after about 20 years.
    OK they admit that the decline is primarily due to habitat issues. So killing predators isn't going to stop the decline as long as the habitat is declining. The predator population will decline on it's own as the prey population declines. As pointed out before, if there is a void in predators, it will be filled soon enough by predators from outside the area of concern. Put the effort where it will actually do some good. Figure out how to improve that habitat.

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Biologists are also working with the Department of Transportation and several non-profit conservation groups to remove brush and trees along area highways to increase moose visibility for drivers and discourage moose from congregating along busy thoroughfares.
    It's not the brush and trees that draw moose to the roads in deep snow winters, it's the ease of walking on plowed roads instead of pushing through chest deep snow. This is the same reason moose congregate on the railroad tracks. There's nothing to eat there, it's just easier getting to where you want to go. As for visibility, it's pretty visible along the Palmer Hay Flats and that is still one of the most dangerous places for moose. People in a hurry driving too fast for conditions is the biggest danger.

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    “Rebuilding the Kenai moose population to historic levels will require a comprehensive and cooperative program that includes several agencies, land managers and local residents,” said Director Vincent-Lang.
    This is the biggie. As long as agencies can't agree on fire suppression or there is large scale logging, there won't be enough good habitat created to make up for the areas that get newly grown over each year. Part of it is that since the last big fires, the population has grown quite a bit on the Peninsula and houses have sprouted up in some areas to the point where they can't just let things burn. That may be a reality that has to be faced, because of human activity, the Peninsula just can't support the number of moose it once did. Or, logging may have to take the place of fires in creating moose habitat. Otherwise, you're just putting bandaids on a wound that needs surgery.
    An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
    - Jef Mallett

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    All good points twodux. What's changed with pred-control programs over the years in my opinion is that the Board no longer really has to be on the side of efficacy. Meaning, the programs no longer really have to be seen by the area bios and managers as likely successful. The argument has shifted to a "reallocation" of ungulates to humans, as in we kill some predators and the moose they would have taken can be reallocated to human hunters. We don't necessarily have to increase populations.

    This also sets us up for certain orgs to capitalize on so-called habitat improvements that really because of their (lack of) scope, also really don't have the efficacy to produce the habitat required to get back to the past population numbers.

    This is well known already, examples abound in other areas that see deep snows more than 50percent of the time. Without wildfire on the peninsula, we are never going to get back to what was. And controlled burns continually are opposed because of the growing human population and dwellings and the likelihood smoke and ash can affect air travel.

    Having said all that, I'm glad F&G clarified their position. I wish they'd hire me as a trapper to do what I've always done here, gosh golly! Pretty crazy imo that all those hunters who testified at the Soldotna BOG meeting aren't essentially "doing their job." I mean, if wolves are really a big part of the "problem."

    One last sticking point with me is the notion that a whole lot of people showing up at BOG meeting for "robust public testimony" (e.g. in this case very pro pred-control) and that influencing the Board ... I've sure seen a whole lot of robust public testimony that goes the other way, but somehow it doesn't have the same impact <grin>.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    This is the biggie. As long as agencies can't agree on fire suppression or there is large scale logging, there won't be enough good habitat created to make up for the areas that get newly grown over each year. Part of it is that since the last big fires, the population has grown quite a bit on the Peninsula and houses have sprouted up in some areas to the point where they can't just let things burn. That may be a reality that has to be faced, because of human activity, the Peninsula just can't support the number of moose it once did. Or, logging may have to take the place of fires in creating moose habitat. Otherwise, you're just putting bandaids on a wound that needs surgery.
    What most people don't realize is that USFWS has a totally different agenda than ADFG and will never allow predator control, logging or controlled burns of any size. It really doesn't matter what ADFG does for 15A/15B because the feds control a majority of the habitat in those areas.

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