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Deer in Anchorage

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  • Deer in Anchorage

    I just got done reading the article on F&G's website concerning Blacktails in the Anchorage area. It stated that there have been several reports of deer in the area both bucks and does and that if these reports are true then there is a breeding population of deer in the Anchorage area.

    I have always wondered why Fish & Game has not tried to establish a population of deer in the Anchorage area. I always figured there was a good reason just didn't know why. Well curiosty is finally getting the best of me and I have to ask. If there is already a breeding population of deer in the Anchorage area, albeit a weak one, why shouldn't F & G try augment it in order to establish a population stable and healthy enough that could be harvested by hunters? It seems like it would create a lot more opportunities for hunters and take some pressure off of the moose population.

    I am sure there are some biological and ecological aspects that are unkown to me that would greatly inhibit deer in southcentral AK, but if the deer have made it here themselves why not embrace it? Is the habitat of southcentral not suitable to a population of Blacktails? Would a population of Blacktails conflict with the moose population? Would predation just be too much to overcome and make efforts to establish a healthy population futile.

    Anyways please dicuss/debate maybe I can learn something.

    Here a link to the article:

  • #2
    I been following the deer stories as well. I doubt there is a breeding population as the few, and I mean few sightings are associated with deer occasionly coming over the mountains from PWS. Wouldnt be any sense to try to establish a huntable population around Anchorage as we cant hunt around the city anyhow.


    • #3
      I dont know about Anchorage but there has been chatter for some time of mule deer popping up on the Alaska Highway just outside of the AG projects in Delta and east towards Tok, I have spent a fair amount of time out there messing around and I would love to see one, the tales would be put to rest cuz I'd bust one in a heartbeat if I saw one. Seems strange that with all the sightings no one has shot one yet, makes you wonder.


      • #4
        I should have been more clear by Anchorage I meant southcentral AK be it the Kenai Pen., Mat-su, or wherever. I have been reading more and seems snow is main issue concerning surviability of Blacktails which is why it is surprsing to hear stories of deer in the Alaska hwy as AlaskaCub just mentioned.


        • #5
          Californication of Los Anchorage

          I'm willing to bet a major influence of F&G not introducing BlackTails in the Anchorage Bowl has to do with the changing demographic of the city itself. Years ago people took it for granted that Anchorage was IN Alaska and as a result there was going to be Moose, Bears, Wolve's etc. in close proximity. But as Anchorage has grown they have seen a large influx of people who want to live in a CITY not a rural setting. Remember the huge outcry last year when the Hillside Moose Hunt was allowed? Or the citizen groups who wanted Moose AIRLIFTED out of Anchorage because they posed a hazard to people's Lexus SUV's a VW Jetta's? Try transplanting a viable deer population there and then allowing a hunt. The "Bambi" protection coalition in conjunction with "Hunters are evil" society would be in a revolt, probably encouraged by the "Vegan Society" and supported for the "Animals are people too" club. There'd be Birkenstocks, Dreadlocks, and Hemp Pants at every BOG meeting as well as city council meetings, etc. In other words a HUGE headache for F&G and a potential black eye for hunters. And as to Jake's comment that a huntable deer population would take "pressure of the moose population", well, there isn't much pressure besides the natural predation by Bears/Wolves and the interaction between moose and the bumpers/hoods of car's. So that justification wouldn't be applicable.
          I have family in Anchorage and one of the starkest examples I saw a couple of years ago. Back when I grew up there it was standard and taken for granted that on the weekend most of my classmates and I would be loading into the campers and trucks with our parents for the then 3-4 hour drive down to the Russian. I took my then 12 yr. old niece down there a while back and it was a novelty to her as well as her classmates that heard she was going.
          To sum up this rambling response I think the conflicts outweigh the benefits of introducing ANY wildlife to the Anchorage Bowl. They have enough trouble with people who leave out garbage that results in DLP and F&G intervention and citations. People PURPOSELY feeding Moose in their backyards so they can snap a few close-ups. Ignorance as to how to act around wildlife, and a general shift towards urban wants and desires as opposed to rural or suburban.

          Just my .02
          Last edited by AlaskaHippie; 11-11-2006, 14:51.
          “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
          "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."


          • #6
            A year ago there was one deer that lived on Kulis. Finally it decided to leave and we haven't seen it since
            Living the Alaskan Dream
            Gary Keller
            Anchorage, AK


            • #7
              Yikes!!!...I really sent this thread in the wrong direction by using the term "Anchorage Area", my fault. I should clarify that I really meant the entire region of southcentral Alaska and more specifically the region within southcentral that would be most habitable to deer. The urban area of Anchorage is probably not the most habitable area in southcentral, but what about Seward, Whittier, Homer, Mat-Su.


              • #8

                Ya mean I wrote that long *ss dissertation for NOTHING!!! <grin>

                Coastal Southcentral would be a viable possibility worth studying. Not sure about Mat-Su. I don't think the environment and terrrain would be what they are accustomed to, not too mention the issue of vehicles vs deer. There are enuff of those with Moose as it is.
                “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
                "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."


                • #9
                  there are many arguments against furthering the introduction of deer to Southcentral AK, but I think the main one would be that they would directly compete with moose for food resources. Although moose populations are healthy in the area, there is no way to really know whether they could sustain competition for resources. It is entirely possible that a huntable population of deer would cause the moose population to decline dramatically, as food is often the limiting factor for ungulate populations.

                  On a side note, deer probably wouldn't deal well with deep snow depths either. True, there are huge amounts of snow in PWS, but the deer survive these by spending a lot of time on the beaches. In Southcentral during a big snow year they wouldn't have this option. There have been a lot of low snowfall years in a row, perhaps allowing these few deer to colonize the area, but it seems like a few deep snow years could easily cause a massive die-off of these short statured creatures if we did actually create a huntable population.

                  Too many potential problems, too few benefits...or at least that's how I see it.



                  • #10
                    I seem to remember that F & G tried at one time to transplant deer on the Kenai Peninsula around the time they transplanted the Caribou. The Caribou took and the deer didn't. If I am wrong about the transplant or the timing of the transplant, just chalk it up to me getting older and probably going Senile from all that lead to make cast bullets, sinkers, etc.


                    • #11
                      Interior mule deer

                      A few yesrs ago myself and a buddy were traveling to Fielding lake to go fishing in mid June. After we passed birch lake on the Richardson hwy and a few miles down the road there stood a mule deer on the edge. He quickly ran back into the brush, no time for a picture, and I never seen him again. I couldn't believe my eyes. After I got back I called F&G and found out that sightings in that area were not all that uncommon. This has been about 5 or 6 years now. I was told that a small herd was hanging out near some bluffs on the Tanana River. Everytime I go by mile 300 I always look for deer and haven't seen any since.


                      • #12

                        Somewhere around here I have a picture of a blacktail facing down a moose. They were standing on the cliff just past the weigh station south of town. (Anchorage, that is). I took the pic to F&G and spoke to one of the guys. He said in his 20 years on the job he'd probably seen3 pictures of blacktail around Anchorage. He thought they come across from the Sound. Eric


                        • #13
                          I talked to fish and game about this also and they told me the same as Brian stated. its all about the food. Deer survive in much worse elaments that SC AK can throw at it.

                          Buddies up in Tok told me that one year a deer carcas was found on the little tok river.


                          • #14
                            I don't know how many of you remember the RyanAir crash in 1987, in Homer, Alaska. The flight was coming back from Kodiak, with a number of deer hunters on board. 18 people were killed and improper load distribution and being overweight were the factors.

                            Because of this crash, a number of folks petitioned Fish and Game to look into transplanting deer onto the mainland in the southcentral areas of Alaska. In theory, this would make it safer for hunters to still harvest deer, without having to travel to Kodiak.

                            The biologists said that besides food competition with the moose and a harsher climate that the deer may not survive, they also mentioned about the possiblity of deer infecting the moose, via their droppings. The "brain worm" could move from the scat into the grass, and if a moose ingested it, they could be infected, and death would eventually result for the moose.

                            All these years later, one site that I found mentioned about this issue. Although it's tied in with global warming, which is suspect, it does mention what the biologist stated almost 20 yrs. ago, as one of the reasons they wouldn't support an introduction of deer onto the mainland, other than what is already naturally occurring. I assume the blacktails may carry the same type of nematode that whitetail deer do. At least this is what the biologists said back then.
                            Below is a quote and the website where I got the info.

                            ""Global warming is increasing the danger of one of the most serious health issues for moose in the far north. A nematode "brain worm", Parelaphostrongylus tenuis, is carried by deer, and although the deer are not affected, blindness, disorientation, paralysis and death are the result when moose are infected. The parasite cannot survive in very cold climates, but as white-tailed deer move north into regions such as the Yukon Territory due to the warming climate, so does the worm"".


                            Just another thing to consider if deer were transplanted here??????


                            • #15
                              just suppose

                              Just suppose they did get a huntable population on the kenai or in the Mats-Su, then what? Do people quit going to Kodiak and PWS? If that happens, maybe they have a population boom, followed by a crash. Also part of the problem in the mainland gets much more bitter cold than on the islands. And on the islands, deer survive deep snows by eating kelp on the beaches. Something I haven't seen much of on Cook Inlet beaches. Also more predators on the mainland. When there is a bad winter in the Sound, the first deer to suffer severly are the ones on the mainland because besides being hard on the deer, it makes them easy prey for wolves and Coyotes.

                              And as Homer Dave says, Habitat, habitat, habitat.

                              They could try, but I don't think they'd take outside of a few pockets.

                              One other transplant in Alaska that didn't really work was down in Yakutat. Sure there are a few deer there still, but not much of a population. They didn't have the habitat to expand.
                              An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
                              - Jef Mallett


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