Yippee-ki-yay!!! It's that time of year again. Time to obsess and speculate over the condition, location and legal status of the beloved hooved animals that walk across the Nelchina basin. While I enjoyed better moose hunting last year than in years past, it was the first time I put in for the draw and thus struck out on caribou permits. This of course, meant that we saw over 100 within shooting range during our moose hunt. That, combined with my move to Southeast has me ridiculously pumped to get back to that wonderful high alpine and it's signature critter. Some of the wandering beasts from last year:
Now, to the status of the herd this year. I spoke with Frank at the Glennallen Fish and Game office today. Their intent is to fly the survey this week, weather permitting. He won't speculate about any of the conditions or numbers for this year until he has the survey data. I have an email into him so he can answer once he has survey data for the herd as it stands. As far as last year, the herd estimate before we started shooting was 47,800 animals. Definitely up over the top-end herd goal. His only comments on the winter herd status was that a larger portion than usual migrated way far east, which contributed to the small winter harvest and that he doesn't anticipate abnormal winter mortality. The hunters did come in under quota last year, but he didn't have exact numbers in front of him.
When they fly the survey and Frank gets back to me, I will post here with the survey count, bull/cow/calf ratio, locations where they're concentrated and any other info Frank feels free to share with me. Nothing is final until they officially release the quota and permit conditions, but I'd bet my favorite rifle that the herd will still be up over quota and the department would set a high quota without a cow restriction. As soon as I hear official numbers, I will relay them here.
In the meantime, let's do what we do best: ignorantly speculate, pass along hearsay and argue with each other online until it devolves into Yeti jokes. Good luck to everyone hunting the Nelchina bou this year and please remember; hunt legal, hunt ethical and above all, HUNT SAFE! Happy 2016 season everybody!
43 days until Tier 1 opens,
53 days until Draw opens,
65 days until general season moose opens,