How to find densities, harvest stats etc
I have used the AK F&H website a lot. However I still do not know how to go about finding harvest stats that are usefull and population desities etc. For example when I looked at sheep it simply listed the population and square miles, but since sheep occupy such a small area within any given range the density calculates seemed fairly useless.
I am trying to find info for a POW spring bear hunt 2008 and moose DIY float in 2009, and caribou sometime. I would like to find densities and harvest info so I can find where the biggest animals are coming from, how can I get this info? I have heard for the POW info I need to call the local office?
I do not want anyone to do the research for me just let me know how to find the info I need, and if I am wrong that densities seem to be subjective and not neccesarly a good indicator of the best areas.
As a lifelong (born here) Alaskan, and an obsessed hunter, I too feel your pain as far as researching game populations, densities, etc. Bottom line, most of the data you are looking for is non-existant and anecdotal at best. Lack of funding means lack of research. Lack of research means lack of info. for you and I who enjoy that aspect of planning a hunt.
The best you can hope for is the harvest statistics for the unit you are looking into hunting. Bush pilots have their finger on the pulse of the game populations given that they fly over the area and hear stories from all of the hunters that they fly in, even if the hunters are unsuccessful.
One of the best sources of data for me (15 years ago) was the University of Alaska Fairbanks Library. I spent literally hundreds of hours looking at master's theses and other published game population data. There are dozens of theses' on sheep populations, migration dynamics, horn size studies, etc. that are available to look over if you are procrastinating from doing your actual homework and other boring Engineering labs and such. Their Alaska Archives section is truly a needle in a haystack.
There is some data available on-line, but it sounds like you have already found what is available in that regard. Don't fret too much about the lack of info. Besides first-hand reports from other hunters and locals, much of this data just does not exist.
Good luck researching your hunts. Most of all do not be discouraged regarding the lack of apparent data. People on this forum can give you a mixed-bag of advice, some good, some bad. Call up bush pilots, and call up the area biologist for the unit(s) you are planning on hunting. This approach has always worked for me.
Data mining with minor drainage ucc codes
I think that data mining which is looking at statistical trends from the AF&G Harvest reports is a good start.
You can download the ucc drainage code maps and then go on to Harvest reports to look at the size of different animals taken in different minor drainage zones.
You need to find 5-10 potential drainages that you see are not guided or are less crowded. The reports can tell you this as well. Then you need to become comfortable with the area. Hike up it or find a hunter who hunted the region.
This recconnaisance is good policy. You get in shape in the actual country and can brush out trails and approaches to the high quality areas. It is also a good environment for teaching your kids how to hike and navigate in the backcountry.
You then make a series of spreadsheets that analyze the numerical quality of different minor drainages over time. You can do this to assess the trophy quality or the area's hunter success ratio over time. This will satsify your goals of either getting an animal every year or finding a spot where moose grow 70 inch antlers.
You should also go to the area biologist or contact them by phone and the Internet. These people are not only scientists but stay in the business by being friendly. I don't think that I have met one who wasn't friendly and professional. Find out what they would do. They will probably won't give you names of people who are successful but they will give you ideas and areas to best use your time. In return, tell them what you saw when you come out successful or not. They rely on your help as well.
Some people will unlawfully misreport where they took their animal to avoid giving up their honeyhole or being able to potentially enter their game animals in the B&C books but most of us hunters are pretty law-abiding good people who really want to put meat in the freezer and become part of the wilderness landscape, even for just a while.
Here's a link to the technical papers:
Click on management and harvest reports, I think this is what you're looking for. I agree w/sheepshape though, some of this will be out of date. Good luck.
I disagree to some extent. Some species (black bear, in particular) have virtually no data collected (which can be cured if ADFG simply required harvest tickets like other species). Some species (deer) have less data than others.
Originally Posted by sheepshape365
And some species are so overmanaged (moose) that you might never find it all.
First, read the most current management reports.
Second, read the research reports on your selected species.
Third, read the Survey & Inventory Performance Reports.
Fourth, run data searches in the Harvest Database to glean whatever trends/data you can find there.
Finally, after reading what you can, call the biologist and ask any questions that popped up during your reading.
Thanks guys good info. I am finding more for moose then I thought was there and it is helping. It does take a lot of time to correctly reda the data, and watch for things like high success because there are cow permits in there etc.
I have not talked with a biologist yet, but that is next and I too agree there is very little info for black bear.