ANTLERLESS MOOSE HARVEST RATIONALE
Fish and Game
Fish and Game Advisory Committees
HC60 Box 3070
Delta Junction, AK 99737
|Middle Nenana River
Middle Yukon River
Article VIII. Natural Resources, Section 4. Sustained Yield, Alaska State Constitution states “fish, forests, wildlife, grasslands, and all other replenishable resources belonging to the State shall be utilized, developed, and maintained on the sustained yield principle, subject to preferences among beneficial uses”.
Sec. 16.05.255. Regulations of the Board of Game; management requirements.
(d) Regulations adopted under (a) of this section must provide that, consistent with the provisions of AS 16.05.258
, the taking of moose
, deer, elk, and caribou by residents for personal or family consumption has preference
over taking by nonresidents.
(e) The Board of Game shall
adopt regulations to provide for intensive management programs to restore the abundance or productivity of identified big game prey populations as necessary to achieve human consumptive use goals
of the board in an area where the board has determined that
(1) consumptive use of the big game prey population is a preferred use;
of the big game prey population or reduction of the productivity of the big game prey population has occurred and may result in a significant reduction in the allowable human harvest of the population
(3) enhancement of abundance or productivity of the big game prey population is feasibly achievable
utilizing recognized and prudent active management techniques.
(f) The Board of Game may not significantly reduce the taking of an identified big game prey population
by adopting regulations relating to restrictions on harvest or access to the population, or to management of the population by customary adjustments in seasons, bag limits, open and closed areas, methods and means, or by other customary means authorized under (a) of this section, unless the board
has adopted regulations, or has scheduled for adoption at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the board regulations, that provide for intensive management to increase the take of the population for human harvest
consistent with (e) of this section.
(g) The Board of Game shall establish population and harvest goals and seasons for intensive management of identified big game prey populations to achieve a high level of human harvest.
MANAGEMENT OF ANTLERLESS MOOSE HARVESTS
Antlerless moose hunts are a worthy management tool to alter the population in times of necessity. The department has developed tangible density dependent indices, including twining rates, short yearling weights, age at first parturition, browse removal rates, etc., that provide real time indications of the nutritional status of the moose population and the habitat. Based on the results of these indices, antlerless moose hunts may or may not be necessary to control the population and prevent a population crash. In addition, recruitment (50+ % of which are female), longevity of females compared to males, rutting stress on males during breeding season, and human harvest that targets mostly males all result in increased numbers of female moose in the population. Antlerless hunts can be viewed as the reward of intensive management of moose populations that ultimately provide additional harvest opportunity for humans.
There are many factors involved in a successful moose hunt. One of many of those factors is the overall density of moose in the hunt area. Other factors include the number of hunters utilizing the same hunting area, what methods and equipment those hunters are using to stalk and hunt those animals, distribution of the moose throughout the hunt area, as well as the complex and dynamic role that weather plays on the behavior of animals and hunters alike. Finally, consideration must be given to the time and effort expended by the individual moose hunter, as an important factor determining the success of the hunt. There might also be other factors contributing to an unsuccessful hunt besides simply a lack of moose on the hunting ground.
The density of animals in GMU 20A & 20B is 2 - 2.5 moose per square mile. Measurements of the nutritional status of moose in GMU 20A & B via the density dependent indices suggest that antlerless moose hunts are currently advisable. We would be remiss in not heeding the biological advice of these measurements. Consequently, we support Antlerless Moose hunts at this time.
SIGNED TITLE DATE
Don Quarberg Chair, Delta Advisory Committee 12/10/13