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Thread: 50-inch Antler Restriction Question

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    Default 50-inch Antler Restriction Question

    I'm trying to find the answer to a question and I'm having difficulty locating the answer. I'm wondering what year the 50-inch rule antler restriction for moose was started. Obviously it didn't start in every unit at the exact same time, but I'm trying to figure out when the first time it started and where.

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    It was mid 80's in 15A. Was also spike/fork then and 3 brow tines. You would think most hunters would know what a 50" bull looks like by now, but sadly the 40's are still being hosed and left to rot after the tape measure confirms what should have been obvious.
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    What about some of the other units? I remember when I was guiding in the 90s and nonresidents needed to get a 50 inch, but residents could shoot any bull. Now it's 50 inch and 4 brow tines for both res and nonres. How about units 13, 14, and 16? When did they go to the 50-inch restriction?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    It was mid 80's in 15A. Was also spike/fork then and 3 brow tines. You would think most hunters would know what a 50" bull looks like by now, but sadly the 40's are still being hosed and left to rot after the tape measure confirms what should have been obvious.
    1987, to be specific on the Kenai Peninsula. Sure sad to hear about all the illegal bulls being shot and wasted. Throw the book at 'em!

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    I don't know the exact year, but sometime in the mid 80's I think for unit 13. I remember when I was a kid, where we hunted it was spike-fork/50" on one side of the river and 36" on the other. I think there was a brow tine restriction mixed in there somewhere, but can't recall which side it applied to. Always a little confusing. You really had to pay attention to where you were to know what animal was legal there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trapak View Post
    1987, to be specific on the Kenai Peninsula. Sure sad to hear about all the illegal bulls being shot and wasted. Throw the book at 'em!
    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    I don't know the exact year, but sometime in the mid 80's I think for unit 13. I remember when I was a kid, where we hunted it was spike-fork/50" on one side of the river and 36" on the other. I think there was a brow tine restriction mixed in there somewhere, but can't recall which side it applied to. Always a little confusing. You really had to pay attention to where you were to know what animal was legal there.
    After doing a little bit of research on the Fish and Game website I was able to determine sometime in the mid-80's for the Kenai, and then most of Southcentral changed over by 1993. I was just curious because my mother-in-law was asking when it changed. My wife's father (who passed away in the 90's) used to be a pilot with a super cub. He used to shoot a lot of moose, but I think a lot of the moose that they harvested would be sublegal today. She was curious when it changed over. I told her I thought it was sometime in the 90's, but I wasn't 100%.

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    Unit 14b was any moose for several years back in late 70 or early 80 and unit 16 was any moose with no restriction on flying. There was at least one
    guide that would leave anchorage in a float plane find a moose in a lake land. The hunter would shoot the moose from the floats and they would bring the meat back.

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    My dad used to get one every year before it went up to 50" from 36".

    I also remember hearing about this one trip they made into unit 13 where it was 50" on one side of the highway and 36" on the other. He was driving to wherever he was going and he saw two of them on the 50" side, they crossed over to the 36" side and he and his friend went after them and caught up to them and killed both of them. Hunting sounded a lot more fun back then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acg515 View Post
    Hunting sounded a lot more fun back then.
    Ya think?
    And you didn't even have to be a legal expert... or hire one.
    IMO, the 50" rule has done more to waste perfectly good moose than has anything else but road kill. BTW, there is a lot of distance between 36" and 50".

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Ya think?
    And you didn't even have to be a legal expert... or hire one.
    IMO, the 50" rule has done more to waste perfectly good moose than has anything else but road kill. BTW, there is a lot of distance between 36" and 50".
    The mid sized bulls get hammered before they have a chance to grow to 50. If it worked the way things should, and people could do a decent job judging, we'd have lots of 50's. The restrictions have been in place almost 30 years. Where are the big boys?


    50" bulls are pretty ra
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    Well if there weren't so many ignorant people in the woods these days the small bulls would make it to 50 inches. There are way to many so called hunters out there that don't read the rigs or don't bother to determine whether an animal is legal or not before shooting. I hunt unit 20D and if there is any question then don't shoot pretty simple.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    Where are the big boys?
    That question bug me for 10 years until I was talking to a biologist about moose behavior. What hurt was I knew the answer all along. I've did not put it together because of the way I was hunting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by monte007 View Post
    Well if there weren't so many people in the woods these days the small bulls would make it to 50 inches. There are way too many hunters out there.
    Fixed it for you.
    The problem is too few moose for way too many hunters. I fear it will become full draw for moose as folks just keep coming and coming...
    The genes in a moose don't change or get any better between him being a paddle bull and a 60+ inch monster. The younger guys will breed if they get a chance, and they will pass on the very same genes as mulligans that they would a few years on down the line when they have a bigger rack. But folks want a trophy. Screw trophies. I'm interested in tender meat.
    But, stupid or not, folks will be out there trying to find the 50 incher, but they'll shoot some 49 inch bull, measure it and beat the heck out of there because, ethical or not, they don't want to get busted or cut up a moose just to give it away and pay a fine to boot. Result: moose wasted. Quite an irony for a supposed conservation measure!
    Wish we all had weeks to spend hunting for the 50+ incher. Fact of the matter is, most of us don't.
    As for myself, I'll draw on antlerless and/or spend my time looking for spike/fork/4 brow tines. Admittedly, I apparently lack the skills you eagle-eyed brainiacs possess who can judge a moose as a 50 incher with ease. I will not take chances doing that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Fixed it for you.
    The problem is too few moose for way too many hunters. I fear it will become full draw for moose as folks just keep coming and coming...
    The genes in a moose don't change or get any better between him being a paddle bull and a 60+ inch monster. The younger guys will breed if they get a chance, and they will pass on the very same genes as mulligans that they would a few years on down the line when they have a bigger rack. But folks want a trophy. Screw trophies. I'm interested in tender meat.
    But, stupid or not, folks will be out there trying to find the 50 incher, but they'll shoot some 49 inch bull, measure it and beat the heck out of there because, ethical or not, they don't want to get busted or cut up a moose just to give it away and pay a fine to boot. Result: moose wasted. Quite an irony for a supposed conservation measure!
    Wish we all had weeks to spend hunting for the 50+ incher. Fact of the matter is, most of us don't.

    The main reason for the spike/fork 50" regulation has already been stated, too many people for the number of moose that can be harvested. This is the current solution for maintaining an open general season for everyone. One additional piece of info is the spike/fork component. Most of you have seen small paddle bulls while out hunting, often the really small bull trailing the cow that wants no part of him. Those are often times yearlings, just like the spikes and forks. There's no proof that every paddle bull has the genetics to become an extraordinarily large bull, but there's some thought that these bulls have something that the smaller yearlings don't. So while there's clearly a lot of pressure on bulls once they reach 50" or develop 3 or 4 BT depending on the area, and the ones that reach these benchmarks first generally get harvested quickly, the idea behind the spike/fork harvest component is that there's some balance here on the low end.

    There are a multitude of harvest strategies for moose implemented across the state, but our most accessible hunt areas prove the most difficult to manage. Moose have a really hard time hiding in areas like the Little Nelchina to the Little Oshetna. There are very few bulls over 47" left there each year after hunting season. But currently, the spike/fork 50" 4BT rule is the only way to maintain a long general season. The additional community hunt harvest puts even more pressure on this popular area.

    One thing to consider going forward is that the Board of Game has always supported some any-bull opportunity in heavily hunted areas, particularly for the long time hunters. How to implement this has been the crux. Currently it's not legal to have a limited any-bull tier II subsistence hunt and a general season hunt in the same area at the same time. I would like to see the legislature take this up and change the law. If the board had more opportunity to provide different types of hunts in the same population, they could go a long ways to helping satisfy the different types of hunters. And we could get rid of the ridiculous salvage regulations and extremely complex rules currently attached to the community hunt. Right now though, that's the best the board could do with the law as is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becky99588 View Post
    There's no proof that every paddle bull has the genetics to become an extraordinarily large bull, but there's some thought that these bulls have something that the smaller yearlings don't.
    - And probably no proof that they don't.
    - The cows are not blind; they know whether a bull has a big rack or doesn't and will look to that bull for safety and to avoid punishment; neither of which a little bull can provide.

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    Amen Amen Amen Amen

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    Point of view from someone who just spent 13 days in moose country. There isn't a broad shortage of 50 inch bulls, just a shortage in areas with high pressure, which of course you would expect. If you get out away from the crowds there are many, many big healthy mature 50+ and 60+ inch bulls to harvest. Now I know a lot of people don't have the means necessary to accomplish this, but that's life. Those who can and do spend the time to go further and farther will always have a better chance on harvesting a quality bull, or sheep, or any critter of desire.

    When I make the drive from Sutton to Glennallen, I'm disgusted by the amount of pressure that exits in the lower part of Unit 13. While I find it repugnant, everyone deserves the right to hunt, I'm just glad and fortunate not to be part of it, as I'd rather not hunt than put up with a hunter every square mile.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlingitwarrior View Post
    Point of view from someone who just spent 13 days in moose country. There isn't a broad shortage of 50 inch bulls, just a shortage in areas with high pressure, which of course you would expect. If you get out away from the crowds there are many, many big healthy mature 50+ and 60+ inch bulls to harvest. Now I know a lot of people don't have the means necessary to accomplish this, but that's life. Those who can and do spend the time to go further and farther will always have a better chance on harvesting a quality bull, or sheep, or any critter of desire.

    When I make the drive from Sutton to Glennallen, I'm disgusted by the amount of pressure that exits in the lower part of Unit 13. While I find it repugnant, everyone deserves the right to hunt, I'm just glad and fortunate not to be part of it, as I'd rather not hunt than put up with a hunter every square mile.
    Absolutely excellent post and I could not agree more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlingitwarrior View Post
    Point of view from someone who just spent 13 days in moose country. There isn't a broad shortage of 50 inch bulls, just a shortage in areas with high pressure, which of course you would expect. If you get out away from the crowds there are many, many big healthy mature 50+ and 60+ inch bulls to harvest. Now I know a lot of people don't have the means necessary to accomplish this, but that's life. Those who can and do spend the time to go further and farther will always have a better chance on harvesting a quality bull, or sheep, or any critter of desire.

    When I make the drive from Sutton to Glennallen, I'm disgusted by the amount of pressure that exits in the lower part of Unit 13. While I find it repugnant, everyone deserves the right to hunt, I'm just glad and fortunate not to be part of it, as I'd rather not hunt than put up with a hunter every square mile.
    tlingitwarrior, Last year I believe you posted a method of judging moose antlers for 50". Sorry if it wasn't you, but if it was, would you mind posting your method again? Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by extrema View Post
    tlingitwarrior, Last year I believe you posted a method of judging moose antlers for 50". Sorry if it wasn't you, but if it was, would you mind posting your method again? Thanks!
    Sure. If the ears lay flat, and you can see daylight between ears and inside of the rack ~ the bull is almost certainly legal. There are exceptions, such as bulls who have severe "cup" to the points. But if they lay out at all, the bull is over 50 and we shoot. A couple other things we look for is nature of the base growth. Mature bulls grow straight out, immature and tweener bulls have bases that grow at up an angle from the skull plate.
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