Will the recent interior rains effect moose population?



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  • Will the recent interior rains effect moose population?

    This is an interesting article in the ADN. I wonder how much the ice created by rain will affect the moose population? Seems logical that the strongest, the mature animals, will survive this winter. But if a lot of the younger ones and pregnant cows die, I wonder how much that will effect numbers for the next few years?
    An inch of rain in late December left a sheet of ice around Fairbanks that is altering life for a bevy of species.

  • #2
    Absolutely. Rain on snow is terrible for ungulates, and the amount of rain/thickness of the ice crust is almost without precedent. Barring any weather events that somehow dissipate that ice crust (and I can't imagine how that might happen), it's going to be a rough year for calves. If calf mortality is high for a single year, that's not necessarily a huge problem for a population. But if it becomes a semi-regular trend like we've seen with sheep in the Talkeetnas and Chugach, that can cause some serious problems.


    • #3
      There may be very few calves even carried to full term. The cows well be aborting calves as they get progressively malnourished. The wolves will have lots of joy filled entertainment as they slaughter as much as possibly for the pleasure that the chase and kill naturally grants them. It does not get any better hunting for the wolves, being able to run on top of the redundant layers of snow and ice.

      I am still hoping they close all Dall Sheep hunting throughout Alaska of two full seasons.


      • #4
        It’s not looking good, especially for sheep. Record snowfall for Denali Park in December. Moose populations have better odds of recovering. I think it’s time to get real concerned about Dalls. Sheep seasons are on the verge of being closed in some mountain ranges and probably should.


        • #5
          I've been out looking around here in Delta and talking to trappers and pilots and appears to me the winter kill will be very significant. I have seen a few moose in windswept areas that can walk on the crust.
          Our winter started September 20th and hasn't let up. I don't think the bulls had much opportunity to recover from the rut. It's a long time until spring but it doesn't look good.

          The Delta Bison Herd is also struggling and local folks are pressing ADFG to open trails into the Bison Range and provide hay......farmers are struggling to keep bison out of their hay.

          DCUA and 20A sheep areas received rains in the northern part of the range but the southern portions have very significant snow accumulation. TMA did not get the rain but eastern Wrangells did get some rain.

          It's a rather dismal outlook IMO.


          • #6
            This extreme weather is going to hit wildlife hard, statewide...down here on the Kenai, the November/December storms drove the moose right down out of the hills onto the roads, and they were getting whacked by vehicles left and right....feed is already hard to come by, and we're not even halfway through winter yet. The other day I saw a young moose out wandering across the middle of frozen Mud Bay off the Homer Spit. Last time we had a winter this bad, it slashed hunting success rates across the state and tightened the antler restrictions....I imagine deer and sheep populations are going to take a hit as well.
            " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg


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