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Thread: Growing Moose

  1. #1

    Default Growing Moose

    What was done to allow the Moose population to virtually explode in and around Delta Junction? I suspect there were many factors, but what were the deciding factors that allowed for the increased numbers? If the factors can be determined, why can't they be employed in regions where moose numbers are dangerously low? Seems to me a real study could be easily generated and by this time in five years from now, the population of moose could be equal to that of DJ in all the road accessible areas. These factors need to be laid out to the public, so they can be capitalized on. Anyone got the real answers to exactly what worked so well?

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    It's called intensive management. All you need to do is cut down on the number of predators and enhance the habatate. The Moose and Caribou will respond. The major problem with growing Moose is that once the moose herd grows to a good huntable size the locals start screaming about the influx of nonlocal hunters and want the hunts stopped. It's the old "Not in my backyard thing". Look at 20-A.
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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default AKres...here's my answer to questions

    There are a variety of conditions and circumstances that allowed the moose population across the Tanana Flats to grow until they were essentially an overpopulation of animals.

    1) predator control; specifically wolf control allowed the population to begin expanding
    2) boggy habitat with a lack of the type of bear populations and bear predation on calves that we have in just about every other area of the state allowed for continued high "recruitment"
    4) successive mild winters with moderate or low snowfall
    3) close proximity of the entire Tanana Flats region to large urban populations of trappers with good access allowed trappers to consistently take 40% of the wolf population annually after wolf-control ceased, thus allowing the moose population to continue to expand (note: the wolf population also expanded, but was/is kept fairly in check at the higher densities they reached)

    Those are the four main factors. What many people don't realize is that the Tanana Flats are a unique habitat not really found anywhere else in Alaska. Both in terms of lack of a lot of bears and in proximity to a large urban trapping population with good access in winter.

    So it's unlikely to duplicate what we have in the Tanana Flats region anywhere else in the state over such a large area. Neither would we ever want to create an over-population of animals; that compromises sustainability and long-term harvest rates.

  4. #4

    Default Predator control works!

    WOW, what next the "remote rat" acknowledges the fact that predator reduction near urban centers does work to increase prey numbers. Maybe an acknowledgment that reducing bear numbers in GMU 16 may increase moose numbers?
    The BOG has done everything it can to take bears out of GMU 16 easy under the conditions allowed for a control permit. Go harvest a bear or two out of the unit and maybe the depressed moose population will recover. An increased chance of harvesting a moose in SC Alaska would help make all moose hunters happy I'm sure. Interior moose hunters are growing tired of SC hunters in "their backyard".

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    Default Habitat and location

    Akres,The South 20D area at Delta Junction was fortunate enough to have three major fires in the past twenty years and thousands of acres of agricultural land in CRP as well as two Bison Range fields. A lot of habitat. The location and access has allowed trappers to do what they do best as well as hunters taking a few bears every year.Moose hunting has been restricted to spike/fork, >50"/4 brow tines on the bull side and only opened to cows the past two years.Annual census numbers are always hazy but the count over the last decade indicates the herd is growing at about 15%/year......that would double the herd every 5 years. The community [myself included] has been skepitical of the cow hunts but the numbers taken should only have slowed or stopped the herd growth. IIRC, estimated moose population in S20D is about 6,000 so the 15% growth would add about 900 moose per year. Last year the bull season take was 200 and the cow hunt yielded 525 for a total take of 725....I'm anxious to see census results next fall.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Ultimately 16B needs to burn. After climbing through the millers reach burn area this year it is clear that moose have a huge advantage getting around all of the deadfall over pretty much any other animal. Bears may crash through brush like it isn't there but I doubt they would move through the thick alders laced with deadfall like the big moose do. I think that a serious fire would do more good than any amount of predator control alone. I still think that predator control will continue to help and should be part of the long term management plan but up front habitat is the initial problem. I have not looked over that area well enough to get an idea of the potential for large scale logging along the Yentna and the Big Su but that may be a more palatable/profitable method than a all out forest fire.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by VernAK View Post
    Akres,The South 20D area at Delta Junction was fortunate enough to have three major fires in the past twenty years and thousands of acres of agricultural land in CRP as well as two Bison Range fields. A lot of habitat. The location and access has allowed trappers to do what they do best as well as hunters taking a few bears every year.Moose hunting has been restricted to spike/fork, >50"/4 brow tines on the bull side and only opened to cows the past two years.Annual census numbers are always hazy but the count over the last decade indicates the herd is growing at about 15%/year......that would double the herd every 5 years. The community [myself included] has been skepitical of the cow hunts but the numbers taken should only have slowed or stopped the herd growth. IIRC, estimated moose population in S20D is about 6,000 so the 15% growth would add about 900 moose per year. Last year the bull season take was 200 and the cow hunt yielded 525 for a total take of 725....I'm anxious to see census results next fall.
    How were the Bison Ranges created/cleared? Seems as though weather factors have been pretty similar throughout Southcentral, so it must be more predator and habitat related improvements. Fire being out of the question for most areas, and agricultural clearing seems distant, what are the alternatives? In the road accessible areas, I seriously doubt we could ever reach a population of Moose that exceeds the demand. But I do think it is worthy of learning what has proven to work in the DJ area and implement similar measures throughout the SouthCentral region.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Hey Rod...

    Hey Rod (Arno),

    Inre the Unit 16 stuff, apples and oranges as you know to the Tanana Flats habitat. I've been doing a lot of research on Unit 16 lately, talking with area bios, reading the Modafferi/Becker eleven-year moose collaring and tracking study, and have the data from Crouse's 3-year cow-collaring study just done. Like was pointed out in the IM presentation at the BOG meeting, in areas (like Unit 16) that >50% of the time receive deep winter snows, it may not be prudent to really try to reach the IM goals. They likely aren't sustainable. During one of the deep snow winters in Units 16 and 14, we had a 60% bull dieoff and a 30% cow dieoff. This keeps happening in parts of Unit 16 and there is nothing we can do about the weather. It's just one of those places in Alaska that frequently sees snows deep enough to cause a lot of winter moose mortality. SDA of wolves has knocked down the wolf population quite a bit, and that will likely help on winter mortality, but our org just doesn't see any efficacy in the BOG mandated black bear control plans to kill sows and cubs and no bag limit. I suppose we can wait until the harvest results are in from this summer/fall, but in the opinion of AK BHA (as you know), all that aspect of the bear control did was give hunters and hunting a black eye. The plan of Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife to set up bait camps and shuttle hundreds of "hunters" in to kill more black bears is also extreme and we have opposed it and will continue to do so.

    Hey, here's a question (if you do log back on here and want to respond). Is AOC supporting the SFW-Alaska plan to set up these bait camps and shuttle out hundreds of "hunters" in order to try to kill a whole lot of black bears? Or is that a ten-foot pole kinda thing where you don't even want to touch it <grin>?

    Anyway, good to see you on the forum and sincerely hope all is well on your end. Just want to point out one more thing; when we spoke at BOG meeting we agreed to keep things respectful in future on the forum. I'd appreciate it if you'd stop using the "remote rat" label...it isn't keeping with your word and in being respectful. You know my name, how about you just use that?
    Thanks and allbest,

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    Akres,

    The Bison Ranges were created with special funding from the Legislature IIRC. The then new barley farmers were up in arms over the crop damage by some very happy bison thus the Bison Ranges were created to appease them.

    You will note that the bison drawing application for Delta is $10 whereas other hunts are $5......the extra $5 goes into maintenance of the Bison Ranges.

    I think Delta gets less snow than even 20A gets and definitely less than 16 gets.....I didn't plow my driveway this winter. The strong winds sweep snow off the high areas allowing easier moose travel.

    Most of the timber in this area is small and land can be cleared by large dozers with a huge chain between them.....I'll ask friends about the clearing rate but it is substantial....the ag project was cleared very rapidly. I would love to see funding for chaining some large areas.

    The new growth resulting after the fires makes for very productive moose habitat but it tops out in 20-30 years. One of the Delta burn areas is in that time frame. Another problem for Delta moose may be the increased activity at Fort Greely and Missile Defense. Access by hunters will be limited and the moose will become a problem.

    A few miles North in 20D is a different case. North of the Tanana, the more accessible areas are low and timbered, moose are fewer and grizzly are plentiful and difficult to hunt. This is an area that needs bear hunters.

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    Bison Range, Fire, and sustained local Non-state sponsored predator control.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VernAK View Post
    You will note that the bison drawing application for Delta is $10 whereas other hunts are $5......the extra $5 goes into maintenance of the Bison Ranges.
    All bison hunts are $10, so does the extra $5 from Farewell or Chitina bison also go to the Delta bison range? I had always assumed they charge more simply because the demand allows it.

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    Sounds like we need some roads to let the SC trappers do a better job.
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    I would assume so Brian but I don't really know.......

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Arno View Post
    WOW, what next the "remote rat" acknowledges the fact that predator reduction near urban centers does work to increase prey numbers. Maybe an acknowledgment that reducing bear numbers in GMU 16 may increase moose numbers?
    The BOG has done everything it can to take bears out of GMU 16 easy under the conditions allowed for a control permit. Go harvest a bear or two out of the unit and maybe the depressed moose population will recover. An increased chance of harvesting a moose in SC Alaska would help make all moose hunters happy I'm sure. Interior moose hunters are growing tired of SC hunters in "their backyard".
    ROD; you know what else will help? Eliminate the regulation that nonresidents have to be guided to hunt bears.

    Why not do everything we can instead of what is just good for guides?


  15. #15

    Default Growing moose in GMU 16

    Does anyone really believe that weather or habitat is currently the limiting factor prohibiting moose growth in GMU 16? "Hand wringing" is the domain of Anti's not hunters. I've watched moose expand their range into marginal habitats for decades in Alaska, they are a pioneering species if there ever was one. (After all moose aren't even indigenous to Alaska, none of our game is as far as that goes.)

    Are the estimated 3,000 moose currently alive in GMU 16 limited by winter range? No. In heavy snow winters do moose die? Yes. If there are 3 times as many moose will more moose die in heavy winter snow years? Sure. Will all the nutrients from those dead moose be utilized by living organisms in the local ecosystem? Yes. Would large scale wildfires improve the carrying capacity of the range to support more moose? Yes. Will all the moose in GMU 16 die off if the area doesn't burn? No. Could a sever snowfall winter, like none ever recorded, kill off 3,000 moose? Sure, why not.

    Whenever moose twining rates fall below the high numbers they currently are and moose browse shows considerable vegetation damage the BOG should stop trying to implement predator control programs in GMU 16. Until either of those conditions are substantiated predation on moose is the limiting factor.

    Having said that, predator reduction should currently be the BOG's goal for GMU 16. As far as how best to achieve that goal goes I'd say whatever works at the least cost to the state. If SFW can muster up a bunch of bear hunters to reduce bear numbers near moose calving grounds this spring more power to them.

    As food cost around the world continues to escalate due to high energy costs Alaskan hunters can take pride in "thinking globely while acting locally". Moose are a solar powered renewable recourse.

    Grow more moose, the more the better.

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Question hey roddy-o...

    i have no idea what you are talking about as far as none of our game "being indigenous"
    do you actually know what the word means?
    "1. originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native "
    so you are saying that moose, caribou,brown bear, black bear, dall sheep, mtn. goat, sitka blacktail ( gee, why are they called that?) and musk ox are not native to alaska?
    then who put them here? (in this case "God" is not an acceptable answer).

    <as a side note, as far as i can tell SFW is going to try to take a bunch of hunters to "control" bears on tyonek native lands, which just happen to (allegedly) be the exclusive guide domain of one of their chief proponents... so how is that going to benefit joe hunter? more moose on native land i can't hunt on w/out paying? whoopee! sign me up! (just kidding... i'm not really that gullible.)>
    as food costs soar i intend to eat more bear.... another renewable resource.
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    Technically the musk ox are not not native to AK they are the Greenland subspecies that was transplanted here after we killed all ours off.

  18. #18

    Default Hand wringing is NOT just for Anti's R-O-D

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Arno View Post
    Does anyone really believe that weather or habitat is currently the limiting factor prohibiting moose growth in GMU 16?
    Does anyone really believe that guides and commercial hunters are not part of the problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Arno View Post
    "Hand wringing" is the domain of Anti's not hunters.
    Bull.

    What is AOC's, APHA's, and SFW's position on justification of nonresidents must be guided to hunt bears? OH no we can not do that it would be dangerous and keeping nonresidents "safe" is MORE important than growing more moose. I mean we just don't really want to grow more moose at any cost...[wring hands]

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Arno View Post
    I've watched moose expand their range into marginal habitats for decades in Alaska, they are a pioneering species if there ever was one. (After all moose aren't even indigenous to Alaska, none of our game is as far as that goes.)
    I have watched groups like AOC and APHA, and now SFW-A which are also not indigenous to Alaska expand their range. Broadening of regulations and interpretations in order to enable commercial hunters to steal the publics resources at an accelerated pace. For years; contributing to the depletion of the resources and are now blameing the low numbers on "predators" of the four legged variety. This is the BULL SYSTEM in all its glory; and Rod you appear to enjoy the roll of the ambassador of bull.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Arno View Post
    Are the estimated 3,000 moose currently alive in GMU 16 limited by winter range? No.
    Are the less than 130 registered guides and members of APHA limited? NO. They hire as many assistant guides as they need to independently steal as much resource as they can and when the area they work in is depleted move on to the next area. Does the weather slow them down? No. If there were 3 times less registered guides would there be more game? NO because one registered guide can hire as many assistant guides AND pilots and planes as they want.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Arno View Post
    Until either of those conditions are substantiated predation on moose is the limiting factor.Having said that, predator reduction should currently be the BOG's goal for GMU 16.
    Wrong cowboy...the BOG should be a lot more interested in the way the commercial industry is operating STATEWIDE. We have a statewide epidemic. The commercial hunting industry is a highly mechanized and intelligent game killing machine with no limits. If the BOG does not put limits and controls on the commercial hunting industry they will deplete what is left of game populations to a point where even poisoning bears and wolves wont bring the resource back in 20 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Arno View Post
    As far as how best to achieve that goal goes I'd say whatever works at the least cost to the state. If SFW can muster up a bunch of bear hunters to reduce bear numbers near moose calving grounds this spring more power to them.
    Ok. Here you go. It cost the state nothing NADA...to do away with the nonresident must be guided regulations to hunt bears.

    SFW's little black bear hunt is only tolerated and possible because it is not interfering with guides brown/grizzly hunts, nonresidents don't have to be guided to hunt black bears and the "hunt" is the absolute CHEAPEST place in Alaska anyone could possibly pull of a hunt like this. And if they really were and had to comply with all the laws THEN IT WOULD NOT BE HAPPENING.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Arno View Post
    As food cost around the world continues to escalate due to high energy costs Alaskan hunters can take pride in "thinking globely while acting locally". Moose are a solar powered renewable recourse.
    Rod, you are so full of it.

    If you want to grow more moose...get the protocols right. Not enough moose, not enough sheep, not enough caribou......NO commmercial hunting. Nonresidents hunt bears unguided. That does not cost the state anything.

    If your worried about farming moose because we are going to need the food source that lies just west of Anchorage to feed the largest population in the State then fence em in and feed em corn....ohh wait we need the corn to make gas to fly, drive and boat to the remote unit 16 to hunt the wild game that is going to sustain us if we just get the bears under control.


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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Talking

    well yep. i knew that about our musk ox, but decided to list them anyway...
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    well yep. i knew that about our musk ox, but decided to list them anyway...
    Your logo of habitat, habitat, habitat: How would you improve the habitat of SouthCentral? What means would you use to enhance the habitat? Or would you prefer to allow it to cycle in whatever occurs? A few of the forum members are always screaming "habitat". I would like to hear some real rational ideas for improvements? Realistic ones, that are achievable in difficult to get to areas.

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