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Thread: sublegal moose

  1. #1
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    Unhappy sublegal moose

    I was reading the trooper dispatches and there seem to have been large numbers of sublegal moose shot all over the state. A good number of guides were cited for telling their clients to shoot sublegal moose. One citation even had the penalty for one of the guides which was probation to have no game violations for two years. Another guy who wasn’t a guide had to pay $800. (favoritism?) No wonder people are not afraid to shoot small moose and the numbers of citations really questions whether people can accurately judge moose size. I cant help but wonder if the 50+ part of the rule should be removed and just brow tines used to determine legal size. Maybe this would cut down on sublegal kills. Either that or the penalty has to be increased and maybe people would be more careful. What do people think?

  2. #2

    Default same as the sheep

    control the number harvested, not the size. Not only is it easier to manage but it also rewards the trophy hunters that work hard at finding that big bull. If a hunter wants to spend $15,000 and 10 days of their time to shoot a small moose then let him. The big mature moose is left for the dedicated hunter. It is the number of animals harvested not the size of the animal harvested that determines the amount of trophy animals left available. The game managers are wrong in this respect.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    I understand your point, bone, but I must say that I strongly disagree from a management perspective. If you only control numbers, then you have to have some sort of a cap on the season. In doing so, you would either have to move all hunts to drawing permits or registration permits - there would no longer be any general season hunts. The problem with this? It would severely curtail opportunity. This fall I spent 5 or 6 days, one at a time on the weekend, hunting an area only an hour from home that is no secret. I never saw a legal bull, and it is entirely possible that what legal bulls there were had already been taken. Perhaps I was out there chasing something that didn't exist. Was it wasted time? Absolutely not. I still had the opportunity to hunt, which is nearly as important as being able to actually take an animal. If there were some sort of limit set on moose, sheep, etc., then the season would close once that limit was reached. People who could not hunt until late in the season would be out of luck. We would see far less opportunity for hunters to just get into the woods and pursue their passions.

    By restricting harvest to large rams/bulls, we ensure that not too many animals are taken and that there will still be a healthy breeding population left behind. True, this would also be achieved by setting a limit on the # taken and getting rid of size restrictions, but it would come at the cost of opportunity. I would rather spend a week in september chasing a full curl that isn't there than sit at home because a certain number have already been taken. What a sad state that would be.

    Besides all of that, you have to consider the biology of size limitations. In the case of sheep, rams past full curl are more likely to die of old age during winter. If you allow hunters to kill younger rams, you are in effect killing off a larger total # of rams, as you're losing both the old ones to natural causes and the younger ones to hunters. Better to encourage hunters to take those who are near the end of their natural life anyhow.

    Lastly, someone here that is more well read than myself recently cited a study that shows that horn size restrictions for sheep has actually led to an increase in legal rams available, instead of the opposite.

    True, there are problems that come with size restrictions. Going to a # limit instead, however, is not the answer - unless, of course, we want less opportunity and more overall mortality.

    -Brian

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    Default

    Just think of the sub-legal bulls that were you shot and killed (a.k.a. poached) and not reported this year. Pretty scary to think about.

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    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    I agree with having the oppurtunity. Never did any good with drawings so I don't want to give up the general season. Hunting and fishing are both activities that I enjoy. Being fortunate enough to bring something home is a bonus.

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    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Default

    You will never be able to stop those that insist on breaking the law or believe that they are above the law. They may pay a fine or do time but you will never stop them.

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    Default selection

    I like Sollybug's idea of using brow tines instead of inches except for one thing. If the 3 or 4 brow tine bulls were all that was harvested, eventually you might breed that out of the bulls. If only two or less browtine bulls are left to breed, that might be the trait that is passed on.

  8. #8

    Default Ghost Bulls

    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    I like Sollybug's idea of using brow tines instead of inches except for one thing. If the 3 or 4 brow tine bulls were all that was harvested, eventually you might breed that out of the bulls. If only two or less browtine bulls are left to breed, that might be the trait that is passed on.
    I already see evidence of that being the case. Large antlered bulls, with fewer brow tines are the norm. That said, it appears as though as long as OPPORTUNITY exists to chase the elusive/non-existant 3 or 4 or more brow tine bull, that is OK with some individuals. Never mind the LACK OF REASONABLE OPPORTUNITY of actually shooting one. Others disagree, as they have stated, but my personal desire is to hunt for the kill. If limiting numbers by drawing/registration/shorter seasons/staggered seasons etc., so be it. The antler restriction reg is a poor choice for managing game, unless there is an ulterior, long range motive behind the plot we are not aware of. Cynical thinking? Maybe, but I have witnessed much in the time I have hunted here.

  9. #9
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    The evidence that 3/4 brow tine bulls are becoming less common due to restrictions is completely inconclusive at this point. Many of the 2 brow tine bulls that breed this season indeed do have the genetics for 3, 4, or more brow tines - they're just not old enough to grow that many yet. This is like suggesting that a 14 year old who is only 5'6" doesn't have the genes to grow to 6'0" tall. It's not genetics in many cases - it is age.

    There is a legitimate concern of selective breeding for less brow tines, but it hasn't been shown to be happening yet. Lets base our management on sound scientific principles.

    -Brian

    PS- "Lack of reasonable opportunity"??? Have you looked at the hunting photo gallery thread lately? There have been many magnificant bulls taken by members of this forum this year - many of them right off the road system. There is still incredible opportunity to take large bulls in Alaska. The rest of the hunting world would kill to have populations managed as well as we do. There is always room for improvement, but I can't help but to be incredibly thankful.

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    Default 50 inch?

    I agree with all that is said, I personelly really suck at estimating a 50 inch bull, I always guess them alot smaller.
    Anyhow thats why I dont hunt in and area with the 50 inch rule. I do have a question does anyone know what happens to the hunter who makes an honest mistake in either judging size or counting brow tines and calls the troopers to turn himself in?
    I mean there will always be sublegal bulls shot for either one reason or another. I mean yeah you have the people do the look around if they shoot a sublegal and then when no ones looking take off leaving the animal where it lays. That is wrong and i believe those people should get racked over coals. However the guys who make a mistake call fish and game salvage the animal for the state , should they or are they punished the same?

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by B_M View Post
    The evidence that 3/4 brow tine bulls are becoming less common due to restrictions is completely inconclusive at this point. Many of the 2 brow tine bulls that breed this season indeed do have the genetics for 3, 4, or more brow tines - they're just not old enough to grow that many yet. This is like suggesting that a 14 year old who is only 5'6" doesn't have the genes to grow to 6'0" tall. It's not genetics in many cases - it is age.

    There is a legitimate concern of selective breeding for less brow tines, but it hasn't been shown to be happening yet. Lets base our management on sound scientific principles.

    -Brian

    PS- "Lack of reasonable opportunity"??? Have you looked at the hunting photo gallery thread lately? There have been many magnificant bulls taken by members of this forum this year - many of them right off the road system. There is still incredible opportunity to take large bulls in Alaska. The rest of the hunting world would kill to have populations managed as well as we do. There is always room for improvement, but I can't help but to be incredibly thankful.
    Science is just that! I would much prefer to base decisions on the will of the people, collectively. Biology/Science/or any other method, where numbers and data can be easily skewed, ignored or misinterpreted are simply ways to substantiate a given agenda. Not sound management principles. For game managers to succeed, they have to include all the stakeholders concerns and rathers. Even Ballot Box Management is better than the Political Football Management Style that we enjoy today. I suggest everyone should learn firsthand how the current system works, by getting involved and learning all we can by attending BOG sessions and providing input. See first hand what changes you can effect, but I caution you, if you are thin skinned or easily wounded, you should reconsider and be satisfied with the Status-Quo.

  12. #12

    Default just my thoughts

    All that you can do is try to get more info out there and make it costly for those that make a mistake, but what if its 49 1/2 inches?? I don't think you can go buy brow tines, because there are some massive bulls out there with only 2 on a side. I know the first thought that went thru my head after I shot was, hope hes 50, I felt confident, but he wasnt a 60+ that makes it obvious, that and I shot him at a whopping 20 yards and I know the closer you are the easier it is to think they are big. I went to all of the local taxidermist and spent time looking over animals. The area that I am surprised with is the fact that guides are making the mistake, I know the guide I worked for didn't want anyone to shoot anything under 60. Mine is only 53 with 4 on one side, and he is a trophy in my book, mostly because I did it by myself. It would be interesting to see the status of the moose population.

  13. #13
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default Brow tines...

    I guess my opinion on it is that if they did away with the 50" rule and made it only brow tines, there would be virtually no room for error. Either the animal has the brow tines or it doesn't.

    As far as a huge moose out there with only two brows....well, he is one lucky dude! Let him grow till he is 90", as long as he only has the two tines, he is safe. Having to let a huge moose go for lack of brow tines is much better than coming across the carcasses of moose who weren't quite 50" and the hunter let them lay.
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  14. #14
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Well said, mud - I completely agree.

    The system we have now is far from perfect, but the fact remains that there are many large bulls available for harvest every fall to those who are willing to work for it. Reasonable opportunity indeed.

    -Brian

  15. #15
    Member AK DUCKMAN's Avatar
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    Default

    [quote=wiso_67;34042]. I do have a question does anyone know what happens to the hunter who makes an honest mistake in either judging size or counting brow tines and calls the troopers to turn himself in?

    I do. It happened to me and a buddy of mine about 5 years ago.
    We watched this bull for 5 to 10 minutes decided it was legal ended up not being such. We saw a fork by 3 witch is legal ended up with a 3by 4.
    The trooper look at it and said I was the closest he had seen in 20 years.
    The one tine on the 3 point side was less then 3/4 of an inch over being a point.And he said we could of never seen it at 100 yarsds. My budddy who shot it ( I also shot at it) got a written warning and had to fill his tag and could not take another moose that year. AFG got the meat amd antlers.
    Also we got to see the other racks they had confiscated. Not one was even close to being spike fork or being even near 50 inch.
    It's obvious legal is legal, not is not, close is close. now the spike/fork is one thing. thats why the 50 inch rule has a 3 or 4 brow tine rule.
    If your not sure if its 50 then you get to go to the brow tine.
    If it doesn't have them or can't be sure don't shoot, easy.
    I got a double fork opening day. Took 10 to 15 minuts to decide weather I should shoot. My decision was made on the fact that the one antler was only around 8 inches long and figured there woulden't be 2 points (plus the main ) on it. And I was right. This was at over 150 yards .
    Just use your brain and common sense and you will do OK.
    If your not sure or willing to pay the price don't shoot that easy.
    I used to not like the 50+ or 3 brow tine rule. But after time it kinda grows on you. I now like it and think its the best thing going at this time. Untill someone comes up with something better learn to live with it and please use your head. It's not rocket science.

  16. #16
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Post 50inch rule

    As a non resident going on my first AK hunt unguided I was very worried about the 50 in 4 brow rule in the area I was hunting. Before the hunt I watched,looked at every moose rack I could see trying to get a handle on judging racks. Even after all my study & money spent to get to where I was hunting I still just didnt know if I could judge it well enough. If there was a different way to accomplish the same goals I think most would be open to listening what else was out there. But what I found was that the only bull I saw was a three brow tine bull my buddy say wait he only has three brow tine & I said yea but he is plenty wide (it was obvioius 60in). There is a big differance judging a 60 as opposed to 49-51in I would not have shot if it was not so obvious. I have found over the last few years I have gotten better at judging racks but still would not shoot something under 55in w3brows because it is just to hard to judge without first measureing. With uncertain outcome I can see how some might just say well lets move on,sad but who wants to get in trouble with the law for mistake no one! What I would like to see is poss some sort of system in place where the hunter is fined or has to pay based on the amount under 50 to say 46in & up that way it allows the hunter to keep the meat & rack but also provides a incentive to not shoot under 50 4 brow. Poss $200. for every inch under 50,might also provide some needed monies & be a good deterant for not shooting sub bulls while stopping some of the let it lay type of things that is being noted. I guess it gives the person at fault a way of doing the right thing without being labeled a poacher or worse for a mistake in judgment.
    my .02

  17. #17
    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Smile 50"

    I agree w/duckman... the 50/4 brow tine rule "grows" on you. I disliked it at first, now I don't mind it, I had to learn to judge 50". I would hate to see the 50"marker removed. The last three bulls I've shot were 52-54"'; two of them only had two brow tines, and one had three (barely) and I didn't see it until it was down.

    Only twice have I seen a moose with 4 brow tines; once while packing for a guide (72" moose), and once I shot a 44" moose with 4 brow tines under the old rules of >36".

    I would suggest watching the "Is it Legal?" video at fish/game, viewing mounts at Sportsman's Warehouse, a taxidermist, or even locally viewing bulls during the rut. (Glen Alps/base-if you live in Anchorage.)

    Tim

  18. #18
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Default

    I can't totally disagree with anyone at this point. I think that a fine for each inch under the 50" rule is not a bad idea, however allowing someone to take home their illegally taken moose is not a good idea. That allows people to try to slide home in hopes of not getting caught and if they did oh well, they get a fine and that's all.

    I have had a hard time with the 50" rule and I suspect that I have let several legal moose walk away, that's hunting. Hunting to me is not all about harvesting. Don't get me wrong, I love being able to take meat and a story home. Every time I have watched a bull walk away it gave me a feeling I can't describe. That is part of the thrill in hunting imo. I do like to hunt in any bull areas as I am not a trophy hunter and you don't have to risk it not meeting the criteria but I also hunt 50" 4 brow areas and have the same level of adventure. It is every hunters responsibility to be sure what they are seeing. Like it or not. If you can't judge antlers then you have the browtine rule to fall back on. Otherwise enjoy the experience and shoot it with a camera.

  19. #19

    Default My 2 cents

    Just a short word on 50 or 3 tines.These regs have been in effect here on the Kenai for a long time.Was a hard pill to swallow at first,but this is what I see now.More bulls in general,a fare number that are harvested that are in the 40in range with 3 or more brow tines, and a few nice ones with everthing you would ever want up front.Ours is a heavily hunted area and I have witnessed some of these bulls pulling tricks that would put a whitetail to shame.If its a case of genetics,some of these guys are making it to the breeding pastures.Give it some time and hunt hard.Just my 2 cents

  20. #20
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    Default agree also to 50 inch

    hey also agree with the 50 inch rule, I never have hunted in an area like that personnelly, but it makes sense. I have watched the video from ADFG and found it to be very educational. I also look at this forum and try to guess rack size using the techniques discussed in video, to be honest it works fairly close like i said before my estimation on size are alway 4-7 inches shorter of the actual size. So i guess i would be good because i wouldnt shoot anything under a 54-57 inch bull hahahahahaahahah.
    A fine for the guys who shoot sub legal bulls i also agree with , the idea of catering the fine in regards to the size difference sounds like a good idea, I wonder if that would work, or would it cause hunters to shoot questionalble animals.

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