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Thread: Likely new moose regs for the Kenai

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Default Likely new moose regs for the Kenai

    There are a number of proposals in the current book advocating elimination of spike-forks from legality, and making only 50" or 3 brow tine moose fair game.
    This has support of the department and it is not unlikely that the end result will be 50"/3-tine for the whole Kenai.
    Recent aerial moose counts (last week, excellent flying/spotting conditions) show a bull:cow ratio of 6:100, after excluding yearlings.
    For years now spike-forks have made up around 60% of our harvest, so the proposed new regs would likely cut the moose harvest by about half.
    Natural predation is not to blame for the skewing of the bull:cow ratio, it is clearly the result of current management. The KP was the first area to go to spike-fork/50", and now we are seeing the end result.
    If a change in regs results in a better bull:cow ratio after a few years, we might see spikes made legal again, or perhaps a limited number of "any bull" permit hunts... But the way things are now we can expect big reductions in opportunity here for some time to come.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Sounds reasonable at first consideration, but makes me wonder if perhaps the 50 inch rule just doesn't work and we've been given a bum steer by those who claim to know all. Just maybe, we should be hunting mid size bulls instead of the spike/fork-some kinda sorta brow tine thingy-50" or over bullspit. Anyway, I gave up on hunting alces on the pen. "Lotsa girl mooses, not much boys." as a native visitor once remarked to me.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    well the KP needs a big big big burn.. plain and simple much of the area is all old growth with little browse left... get the feds to stop fighting EVERY fire and let some burn... read your own siggi line dave... improve the habitat the you have left and see what happens.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    well the KP needs a big big big burn.. plain and simple much of the area is all old growth with little browse left... get the feds to stop fighting EVERY fire and let some burn... read your own siggi line dave... improve the habitat the you have left and see what happens.
    Habitat could be improved, and a big fire might help, but we chiefly seem to be growing lots of lady moose. I nearly hit one about every week. You can see cows and calfs at any given time and place, but it is a rarity to see bulls of any configuration.

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    Perhaps making it a spike fork only hunt would be a better solution. The whole reasoning behind the spike fork regulation was to harvest bulls that were mostly ineffective breeders with poor genetics. I guess I question the reasoning of shifting the harvest to ONLY the bulls with the best genetics. They are the ones that can successfully breed the most cows and do it during a single rut.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    Perhaps making it a spike fork only hunt would be a better solution. The whole reasoning behind the spike fork regulation was to harvest bulls that were mostly ineffective breeders with poor genetics. I guess I question the reasoning of shifting the harvest to ONLY the bulls with the best genetics. They are the ones that can successfully breed the most cows and do it during a single rut.
    Says who, LuJon? That is the science promulgated, but it is also a well known fact that millions of not fully developed teenage boys sire millions of babies throughout this country. They shoot sperm just like the older guys do. Is their sperm as good? It might be better. Don't know.

    How can it be that different in the animal world? All I'm saying is give the little devils a chance to breed and grow up. Also, give hunters a chance at the mid range bulls. The manner in which they are managing moose is growing cows but not that many legal bulls.

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    AK BHA, the homer AC and F&G have all pushed for burns, and a couple years ago there was a wildfire that easily could have been allowed to burn but forestry put it out.
    with prevailing winds during burn season generally pushing smoke towards populated areas it is near impossible to get the needed go-ahead and permissions for a burn. this has been a big issue down here, we need to burn, but because of population we can't. when the weather window is good, by the time the burn could be authorized the conditions change.
    takes a lot of resources to manage a controlled burn, and nobody has the money to do it.
    as for the spike-fork rule taking out weaker bulls so to speak, what we are finding is that that isn't working. we are obviously taking too many bulls. too many cows are going unbred. with the hunting pressure on the kenai a huge percentage of our young bulls are taken as forks, and we simply do not have adequate recruitment to maintain functional herd dynamics.
    it doesn't matter if the big bulls can breed the most cows... right now right now there are not enough bulls, period.
    if we lay off the 2-year olds, and allow the mid bulls to recruit into 50+ inchers, in 3-5 years we will have, hopefully, a decent number of big bulls, AND good numbers of younger bulls on their way up.
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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Says who, LuJon? That is the science promulgated, but it is also a well known fact that millions of not fully developed teenage boys sire millions of babies throughout this country. They shoot sperm just like the older guys do. Is their sperm as good? It might be better. Don't know.

    How can it be that different in the animal world? All I'm saying is give the little devils a chance to breed and grow up. Also, give hunters a chance at the mid range bulls. The manner in which they are managing moose is growing cows but not that many legal bulls.
    that may well be the case sayak, but the average yearling bull is NOT a spike fork.. it is a paddle bull w/out browtines. if there is a large population of spikes and forks down there, that would indicate poor conditions for them to grow any real antlers. with a population of 6 bulls to 100 cows? there is lots going on. time to manage them and not the people hunting them.

    last year at the BOG, i sat and listened through a long arduous explanation of the burn issues with NPS down on the KP... in short. smoke is bad for the tourist trade. there is a lot of country that could burn and not endanger any real population with actual flames, but they wont deal with the smoke.

    not enough bulls is the primary cause of decline in the caribou over west of ya's at the moment also. down to 9/100.... SEX! is the reason.. LIFE HAPPENS>
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    not enough bulls is the primary cause of decline in the caribou over west of ya's at the moment also. down to 9/100.... SEX! is the reason.. LIFE HAPPENS>
    If this is true (and I'm not sure it is), then perhaps the heaviest predation of both moose and caribou is upon baby bulls. Just throwing that out there. Predation, IMO, is of even a greater concern than lack of ideal habitat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    time to manage them and not the people hunting them.
    that is simply a ridiculous statement, and shows no grasp of the situation at all.
    if moose numbers are down across all ages and sexes, then there are issues of browse, predation or other factors. though this may be the case on the kenai we ALSO have an incredibly low bull:cow ratio. this can ONLY be explained by hunting regulation. managing PEOPLE is part and parcel of game management, it can't all be accomplished by manipulating, or trying to manipulate the animals themselves.
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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    ...is upon baby bulls
    you mean like spikes and forks?
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    if we lay off the 2-year olds, and allow the mid bulls to recruit into 50+ inchers, in 3-5 years we will have, hopefully, a decent number of big bulls, AND good numbers of younger bulls on their way up.
    You sound so convinced of this...Wasn't long ago, you were advocating the culling of the "2-year olds" and if memory serves me...there are pics on the forum to attest to that. What Changed your mind now? How can one be so certain, so often?
    I don't hunt Moose on the KP, but I have every reason to think, the bulls are suffering from more than the legal human predation, based on my limited observations down that way. IMO, you have multiple adverse factors working against the moose and moose hunters: Old growth forests, too many apex predators, too little access, too much Federal Intervention and too many poachers and people that are not held to State of Alaska Statutes. To kill off the remaining Big Bulls, seems pretty silly to me. Perhaps a better approach would be to; support and advocate logging efforts, access improvements, resource development, predator control, vigilante justice to the illegals and to speak out and act out against Federal Intervention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    that is simply a ridiculous statement, and shows no grasp of the situation at all.
    if moose numbers are down across all ages and sexes, then there are issues of browse, predation or other factors. though this may be the case on the kenai we ALSO have an incredibly low bull:cow ratio. this can ONLY be explained by hunting regulation. managing PEOPLE is part and parcel of game management, it can't all be accomplished by manipulating, or trying to manipulate the animals themselves.

    well Dave i see your ineptitude for talking to folks has not changed..

    perhaps you mis understood what i meant. the state has done little to actively manage the resource in many areas to encourage growth or productivity.. and has spent countless dollars managing the hunters around the resource..
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    A yearling bulls horns' are all dependent on genetics and nutrition. Some yearlings will have tiny nubs and others may have a 30 or even 40" rack. On the judging video on the F&G website they show some yearling bulls (I believe) that were like this. Personally, I don't believe those young bulls have much impact on the herd since most the big boys are ruling the roost. Just my opinion...
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    Well, all the wildfires in the interior every year are spectacular for moose hunting. Exhibit A is opening a new cow hunt this month in 20A. The Kenai just needs a huge burn..they waste so much money fighting fires to preserve a few homes (crown point, caribou hills, etc) that they could reimburse the homeowners double the assessed value instead of intensive management of the fire and come out way ahead.

    Wow, that low bull to cow ratio is back to when it was any bull. Right after spike/fork all of a sudden there were moose everywhere. Maybe we are just so populated now that most of the spikes get taken. Still, there has to be some doubt. There is no shortage of moose. They are everywhere all over town in every yard every night, hitting tons on the roads, so the cows are getting bred by somebody... I would have no problem with going to 50 for a few years as it would be cool to see lots of bulls again.
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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Hold on there guys... we have lot's of fires down here. The entire Caribou Hills region, which is also the most hunted, has burned off completely in several separate fires over the last decade. These fires go out when they get to Tustumena Lake and/or winter hits.

    The rest of the private lands are covered with houses and you can't hunt there anyway.
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    The one area out here that has a poor bull/cow ratio gets a cow hunt each fall. If cows are not getting bred, then killing them shouldn't hurt reproduction.
    Would logging be an alternative to fires? Isn't the Kenai covered in dead beetle kill spruce?

    You used to post pics of your back yard skike bull harvests, didn't ya dave?
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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    The one area out here that has a poor bull/cow ratio gets a cow hunt each fall. If cows are not getting bred, then killing them shouldn't hurt reproduction.
    Would logging be an alternative to fires? Isn't the Kenai covered in dead beetle kill spruce?
    You're on to somethin' there, MT; however, there's huge problems of access in that cow hunt area, and a lot of people who draw DM549 don't know where to go. We see lots of barren cows in there; I believe taking more cows would take the pressure off the young bulls (the old ones didn't get old by being easy to kill) and improve the ratio. That area has had some burns and the habitat is patchy, totally overrun by alders in many areas, impenetrable blowdown beetlekill in others. Most people around here are meat hunters, and would be happy to take home a fat cow.
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    Relentless hunting pressure down here is the reason for no bulls. 6 bulls to 100 cows. They have a Aug. 10-17 bow hunt then Aug. 20- Sept. 20th open season. Then a Oct. subsistence hunt. We that live hear know it's because of hunting pressure. Burning the woods tomorrow does not make more bull moose next fall. Well if it does I'm all for it. Maybe I'll burn down some trees and see if I have more bulls show up. The number of moose may increase but we'll still have a 6 to 100 ratio. Fires don't make moose breed bulls only. IMO To much hunting pressure. Not many bulls get away with all most 60 days of hunting.They need to get inline with the rest of the state and go to shorter seasons.

    I would like to see them close moose hunting for 5 years and see the changes that happen. It would ansewer some questions. Then when they open it up again go to a 10 or 15 day hunt like lots of areas on the road system are.

  20. #20

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    All of the comments here have some merit but I'd like to see the Kenai go to a permit system. After we see an increase in the bull/cow ratio, we can keep adding more permits. As the human population on the Kenai goes up, there is going to be more pressure on the animals which is never good.
    A good HOT fire is what we need. The fires that we have are put out before anything good gets burned. Those of us that get off our four wheelers and wear out our boot leather know that there is way too much undergrowth. The grass is 6 foot tall with blow down trees everywhere. The year after we had the Greer road fire, the hillsides were green and full of moose but the big blowdowns didn't go away, they just had their bark burned off.
    Several years ago I attended the predator management meeting they had here in Homer and one of our problems with calf survival was the predators being able to run down the calves in the beetle kill forests. The cows are able to jump over and weave through the trees, but the calves don't have a chance. How many of these calves never get to the spike/fork stage in their life due to the increase in predators? For some insane reason, the ADFG groups our Brown Bears with the bears in Southcentral Alaska. So if too many brownies up in Kenai get killed over eating someones garbage or chickens, we get punished also. There is no way that the bears in the lower Kenai Peninsula are hiking all the way up to the Kenai/Soldotna/Cooper Landing to look for food. Also at that time they were telling us that we had at least 2 wolf packs on the lower Kenai that had 20+ members in each pack. How many moose have to die every day to keep these guys fed? They told us that the ADFG didn't want to open another cans of worms by allowing aerial hunting of wolves in/around the
    Caribou Hills because of the bad press they got up in the Glenallen area.
    My last comment regards to killing more cows. I want to go the other way. When I went to school, I was taught that the calves come from cows. I may be wrong, but a dead cow never gets bred. Who cares if numerous cows aren't bred every year. Who says they won't get bred next fall or the fall after. If we kill them, they'll never produce a calf. Lets get more hoofs on the ground!
    So here's what I'd like to see in unit 15:
    - Allow moose hunting by Permit Only.
    - Expand Brown Bear hunting opportunities on the lower Kenai.
    - Aerial Hunting for wolves to reduce the pack sizes.
    - Get rid of the DM549 cow hunt.

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