This question has kind of come up in another thread so I figured I would start another dedicated to this.
What do you feel is hunter opportunity. The amount of time you are able to hunt for the animal IE length of season. Access?? The easier to access the area the greater to opportunity?? Transportation, no limit on what mode of transportation you can use in a given area means more opportunity?? The type of weapons used for the hunt like rifle is greater opportunity to take game generally than a bow??
I feel that if you increase opportunity in one area it decreases it in another. Lets use an extreme case for example, if you would make the moose season a bow only season state wide the hunting season would likely be allowed to extend to atleast 3 or 4 times its current length based on hunter success rates with bows only in order to harvest the same amount of animals. This may give what many would consider more opportunity to hunt. However the success from that opportunity to hunt would likely be diminshed due lack of opportunity to use an easier means to take a moose (rifle) as well having strictly rifle hunters would have the opportunity to hunt at all while bow hunters would have MUCH more opportunity.
Would you rather have a longer season with LOTS of opportunity to hunt or a shorter one with only 3 weeks to hunt but you would get to use a rifle?? Both have greater opportunity in different areas.
Or take access for example. Non-motorized areas give those willing to hike great opportunity to get out away from the crowds while those that would rather use another means of transport would view it as a lack of opportunity. Those that like to hike view CUAs as an opportunity whereas those that don't feel as though that area lacks any opportunity.
Another example would be that the late season Chugach sheep bow hunt is a great opportunity and it is as it extends the season.......if you happen to be bow hunter, certified, and own a bow. Obviously based on harvest results from this hunt the past several years F&G is OK with a few sheep taken on this hunt. So wouldn't it increase a greater portion of the hunting population of Alaska's (non-bowhunters) opportunity if they had a chance at this hunt if you limited to say 5 rifle tags instead of a bunch of bow only tags. The number of bow hunters in AK pales in the number of rifle hunters yet the vast majority of rifle hunters are excluded while a MUCH smaller group get this opportunity.
Another example could be the haul road. We all know it is bow only within the 5(its really a 10 mile corridor IMO), but not for safety reasons as the pipeline doesn't stop where the DHCUA stops However if everyone, rifle hunters & bow hunters alike, were given the opportunity to hunt the corridor you could imagine that it would be another Chicken ridge or 40 mile event making for a traffic night mare up there and possibly shutting down the road for hunters use all together.
So would it be more fair to just offer a number of draw tags for different windows of the year that the season is open to any weapon within the DHCUA corridor to perhaps better control the # of folks up there at a given time so that anyone rifle or bow hunter can hunt the corridor rather than restrict it to those that like to hike the 5 miles beyond with a rifle and archers???
I have my own thoughts on each scenarios but I won't give my opinions on them just yet. Just threw them out there to get the ball rolling and provoke some thought on this.
I guess my point is that you can't simply that you always argue for more opportunity. When you ask for more opportunity at times it takes opportunity away from others. I think that greater opportunity isn't as cut and dry as some believe.