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Thread: Hunting after the Funny River Fire?

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Question Hunting after the Funny River Fire?

    How long before the vegetation grows back over the burned areas and attracts/supports moose, bears, etc?
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Variable, depending on the severity of the burn in any given spot. Next year it will all green up with forbs and grasses. Following years will see deciduous succession. Ten years from now it will all be eight feet deep in deciduous regen. Moose, bears and other animals return to burned areas literally before the ashes have cooled. The reasons are no doubt complex, and I won't pretend to understand all the attraction, but I have seen it with my own eyes. Wildlife is not as traumatized by wildfire as we humans are.
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    Regrowth starts almost immediately. And think about this. In the spring, animals such as deer and bears follow the new growth up mountainsides as soon as the snow melts and it starts sprouting. New tender growth is a favorite among most animals. It doesn't take much to attract animals if it's something they like or supplements their diet with protein or essential nutrients.

    I'm convince a secondary attraction is nutrients and minerals that fire releases from wood and plant matter as it burns.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    How long before the vegetation grows back over the burned areas and attracts/supports moose, bears, etc?
    If your serious about finding out the answer to your question. All you have to do is get a copy of the report/grant about plant growth in the Kenai after the fire in the early 70th.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    If your serious about finding out the answer to your question. All you have to do is get a copy of the report/grant about plant growth in the Kenai after the fire in the early 70th.
    Yup. A google of "post fire succession kenai peninsula" will get you lots of good reading.
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Looking back that way from across Tustumena Lake I was very much surprised at what I saw. I expected to see a totally charred black hillside but there were still plenty of area that seemed to be untouched. Would really like to see it from the air though as one forum member did and said it was "pretty impressive".

    Although skeptical, I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that the folks that say "habitat" is the biggest reason that our moose population is down, know what they are saying. Hopefully with a continuing brown bear hunt, and upcoming new browse for moose, 15b will start on it's way back to being the incredible trophy area it once was.....well, maybe if it's even half of what it was, it will still be tons better than what we have now.

    Personally I won't expect much improvement, population wise, for at least 4-5 years or so......from what I've heard people did pretty well in the Caribou hills area this year and look how long it's been since those few big fires. Hopefully we'll at least see more moose in the area by then, but it does indeed take awhile to grow a real big bull.....even with good quality habitat.

    Does anybody know if there are any links to current aerial photos of the fire area? I would do it myself but my internet connection is so slow that it takes me forever to do much research.....
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    There is an educated school of thought that the funny river fire is not going to be anywhere near as good for habitat regeneration as the old skilak fires were, mainly because the burn is mostly superficial. Much of the ground was still frozen, so the fire did not scarify the soil by burning down to the mineral layer. No doubt there will be positive impact, but it isn't a panacea.
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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    There is an educated school of thought that the funny river fire is not going to be anywhere near as good for habitat regeneration as the old skilak fires were, mainly because the burn is mostly superficial. Much of the ground was still frozen, so the fire did not scarify the soil by burning down to the mineral layer. No doubt there will be positive impact, but it isn't a panacea.
    Check out this video of a spruce thicket being superficially burned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that the folks that say "habitat" is the biggest reason that our moose population is down, know what they are saying.
    It is! According to the Kenai Moose Research Station, the ADF&G staff say that the Kenai currently supports just over 1 moose per square mile, but that in the past it supported over 4 moose per square mile... and the Funny River Fire is being studied closely. More open areas (from fire) do indeed support more ungulates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    There is an educated school of thought that the funny river fire is not going to be anywhere near as good for habitat regeneration as the old skilak fires were, mainly because the burn is mostly superficial. Much of the ground was still frozen, so the fire did not scarify the soil by burning down to the mineral layer. No doubt there will be positive impact, but it isn't a panacea.
    I haven't had a chance to see a lot of it yet, but the area I did get to walk this summer didn't get near as hot as I'd hoped, never the less, in many parts of 15a and 15b something is way better than nothing.


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    Member tekla's Avatar
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    Just on funny river road alone I saw 10 times more moose this last summer than I did in the last five combined. Must be that they got pushed to the road. Just making a point that not all the moose were killed and burnt by the fire. I hope that in the long run it is going to be a great thing. If nothing else they cut back the area by the road so atleast you will get to see more moose.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    never the less, in many parts of 15a and 15b something is way better than nothing.
    Likewise, my way of thinking as well.......at this point, ANYTHING is better than nothing.
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    We had a huge fire here in CO. a few years back. 148,000 acres. The elk and deer were back in the burn area within days after the fire. For the first couple of years, all the elk and deer antlers were black from rubbing on the burnt timber. The population of both elk and deer skyrocketed almost immediately. There are still pockets of unburnt timber throughout the area that the elk use for bedding, the deer bed out in the timber. I suspect you guys will also see a huge improvement in the quality and quantity of moose in the burn area.

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    Member slimm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FullCryHounds View Post
    We had a huge fire here in CO. a few years back. 148,000 acres. The elk and deer were back in the burn area within days after the fire. For the first couple of years, all the elk and deer antlers were black from rubbing on the burnt timber. The population of both elk and deer skyrocketed almost immediately. There are still pockets of unburnt timber throughout the area that the elk use for bedding, the deer bed out in the timber. I suspect you guys will also see a huge improvement in the quality and quantity of moose in the burn area.
    Everything Fullcry stated above, big game hunting has been nothing short of epic.
    Hasn't been to good for the Chukar hunting though.

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    After the 2004 Steese fire, it was 5 to 7 years for the moose to really move back into the area. The mushrooms were epic the first couple years after.
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    I flew over the area twice when I went on my goat hunt in August. There were a lot of unburned areas, and much of the areas that did burn, looked as thought the fire did not get down to mineral soil. I expect lots of grass to come up, and not so much moose browse as in fires here in the past.
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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Default For my buddy 4mer

    This image was captured June 5. You can see the areas that got scorched and those that didn't. It got pretty hot when the fire made the initial run to the lake, then it was less intense as it smoldered along to the east.

    FunnyRiver_20140605.jpg
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    any data collected from this fire will be skewed by the fact we are finally addressing bear over population. The habitat here has always been good. But dead calves/moose don't get any bigger.

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    Hunting after a fire while more productive "sucks". Go hunt some burned areas around Delta and Tok. It's been 20 plus years and the dead fall still makes walking nearly impossible. The dead fall from Beatle kill was bad enough in the funny river area now with all the trees down yuck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkb View Post
    Hunting after a fire while more productive "sucks". Go hunt some burned areas around Delta and Tok. It's been 20 plus years and the dead fall still makes walking nearly impossible. The dead fall from Beatle kill was bad enough in the funny river area now with all the trees down yuck.
    That's a bad fired, a good hot fire is what is suppose to clean up the deadfall and what the tustumena bench really needed, still haven't seen it for myself or talked to anyone who has been in there to hear if that happened.


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