Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Recent Thread on the Alaska Hunting Forum

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Shungnak Class Learns Hunting, Trapping, Outdoors

Twenty-two students at the northwest Alaska village of Shungnak are learning an unusual school curriculum: Hunting, Trapping, and Outdoor Survival, the Anchorage Daily News reports. The students receive both classroom instruction and more interestingly, field experience with an experienced area outdoorsmen. Excitement runs high, the paper reported.

Alaska Harvest Summary Updated

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game offers an annual harvest summary each year for the states big game species, and the report has just been released for the 2004-2005 regulatory year (which ended June 30, 2005) . The seven page summary is broken down by species and game management unit. While not a powerful planning tool, this summary at least gives a flavor for harvest trends over broad areas.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Proxy hunting narrowed down

Alaska state game regulations allow the taking of game on behalf of another, if the other person has physical limitations that make that difficult or impossible. The regulation was enacted as a way of allowing the sharing of wild food that is traditional, especially among Alaska Natives. And that has led to protest by some rural native communities.

At its recent meeting, however, the Alaska Board of Game restricted the practice because some hunters in urban areas are abusing the program, the Anchorage Daily News quoted Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokesman Bruce Bartley as saying.

"People are going into pioneer homes and getting people to sign up," he said. ADN reported that "The move is drawing protests from some Native Alaskan communities, who argue that proxy hunts are necessary for elders who are physically unable to hunt for themselves."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

North American Bear Foundation now in Alaska

The North American Bear Foundation has started a new chapter in Alaska, reports the Anchorage Daily News. The foundation "is dedicated to the native bears and other wildlife populations of North America by promoting public awareness, education, and sound management of our natural resources and through habitat conservation, restoration, and enhancement," according to its website.

The president of the Alaska chapter is former ADF&G commissioner Carl Rosier. ADN reports that "the Alaska chapter, just getting started in Juneau, plans to continue the tradition and engage in a broad range of activities important to people who value the outdoors," quoting chapter director Greg Petrich.

"More fish in the creek, more power to the bear," Petrich said.

Editor's note: Carl Rosier has served as president of the Alaska Outdoor Council, a statewide federation of 54 sportsmen's clubs. Petrich's background includes a degree in gunsmithing from Trinidad State College in Colorado. Here is contact information for the Alaska Chapter of the North American Bear Foundation: Phone: (907) 463-6755, Regular mail: 418 Harris Street, #317, Juneau, AK 99801 Email: aor@gci.net

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hot Threads from the Alaska Hunting Forum

Friday, February 17, 2006

Prince of Wales deer planning subcommittee to meet

The USFS announced recently that the Unit 2 (Prince of Wales Island) planning subcommittee will meet in Craig on February 22 and 23. The committee will be addressing a number of issues related to subsistence management of deer, including a new young-growth forest strategy.

According to the FS, "the strategy includes the continued and expanded research and implementation of a comprehensive program on the Tongass National Forest to restore and rehabilitate young-growth forests in Unit 2 for the benefit of deer. The rehabilitation would target areas that would provide the greatest benefit by increasing the supply of deer in locations used extensively for hunting."

New books in the store

We have added several new books to our Alaska Outdoors bookstore that you may find interesting:
  1. Of most interest to hunters is A Cruising Guide to Prince William Sound: The new combined edition of A Cruising Guide to Prince William Sound updates much of the information that originally appeared in Volumes I and II including general cruising conditions for Prince William Sound. Everything is in this book, climate, wildlife, emergency tips, boating procedures, camping, and extremely detailed information on the coves, anchorages, and harbors of the area. Safe boating in a northern wilderness.
  2. Of possible interest to some hunters are these: Kayaking and Camping in Prince William Sound and Alaska Backcountry Skiing.
  3. We have also added a fishing DVD: Predator Fishing.

The Outdoors Alaska book store has dozens of books and videos/DVDs about the Alaska out of doors including some that you will have trouble finding elsewhere. Nearly all of these are in stock for immediate shipment via priority mail.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hunter education

US Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident in which he shot and seriously injured another hunter has many thinking about firearms safety. Hunter education graduates nationwide have a significantly lower accident rate - up to 75% less in some states.

While hunter education was largely voluntary in the past, that is no longer the case. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website's hunter education page, "The Board of Game passed regulations requiring that hunters born after January 1, 1986 must be HE certified to legally hunt in units 7, 13, 14, 15 and 20 or be under the direct immediate supervision of an adult (16 years old and up) who is HE certified. In addition, Hunter Education certification is required before anyone may legally hunt in the following areas in Alaska: A) the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge and B) all army military lands. In Southeast Alaska, on the Mendenhall Wetlands near Juneau, hunters 15 years old or younger must have HE or be accompanied by an adult." These Game Management Units cover the Kenai Peninsula, the Nelchina Basin, Anchorage and the Mat/Su and the Fairbanks /Tanana Valley areas.

Many courses are taught in the Anchorage area throughout the year. Area biologists in various communities around the state can provide information on courses in their areas of responsibility.

Bowhunters Awards Banquet coming soon

The Alaska Bowhunters Association is holding its 2005 Awards Banquet at the Hotel Captain Cook on March 25. The guest speaker will be Grant Adkisson. Tickets can be purchased online.

ADFG publishes wildlife reports

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game regularly publishes reports on wildlife management and harvest. Most recently, the Division of Wildlife Conservation published reports for caribou, brown bear, black bear, deer, Dall sheep, and muskox. These reports are in PDF format and can easily be printed for reference. The reports are not up to the minute, but still show useful information about wildlife in the state.

Bears: Play Dead or Fight Back?

For years the conventional wisdom was that in the event of a bear attack, one should play dead. Not necessarily, says ADFG's John Hechtel, who says ideally one should know more about the bear's intentions in a Juneau Empire story.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Audio interview with ADFG on bear hide sale, sheep

The Alaska Board of Game recently legalized the sale of brown and black bear hides from areas where the state is intensively managing big game. Alaska Hunting News spoke with ADF&G spokesman Bruce Bartley today about the new regulation.

During the interview, we also asked about changes in the sheep sealing regulation implemented at this recent board meeting.

In a conversation some hours after the interview, Bartley said that it will, in fact, be legal to sell bear hides taken on federal lands. He also said that only green hides could be sold. Tanned hides would not be legal for sale.

Any bear hide that is intended for sale must be sealed at an ADF&G office, and in the case of brown bear hides intended for sale, the hide must be sealed at the Tok ADF&G office. There will be a special seal for hides intended to be sold.

Click the small triangle on the graphic below to start the audio.

Federal subsistence boards to meet

The 10 Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils will meet during February and March to review proposed changes to Federal subsistence hunting and trapping regulations for 2006-2007. The Federal Subsistence Board will consider the Councils’ recommendations when the Board meets in May. Council meetings are held throughout the state.

Additional game proposals published

ADFG has published additional proposals for potential changes to the Alaska hunting regulations. Comments are due on these and other proposals by 24 February.

Deer in the Anchorage area?

Sitka black-tailed deer in Anchorage? This month's Alaska Wildlife News says "yes." These small deer are not natives of the area, or even southcentral Alaska, but have been in the region since the early 20th century thanks to transplants from southeast Alaska. The deer have been steadily pushing their range west.

Deer have been reported in the Anchorage area for three winters in a row, the publication said. Sightings have included both bucks and does, usually separately, although one observer reported seeing a buck and doe together.

Anchorage moose hunt deemed a success

The October 2005 moose hunt held on the Anchorage Hillside wasn't very big -- only four permits, but it represented one of the most difficult hunts to open in years, according to an editorial in this months' Alaska Wildlife News. The Anchorage area moose population is large, and with few predators, it has been a persistent challenge to state wildlife managers to find a way to balance the size of the population with the shrinking available habitat. These four permits have done little to solve that problem, but the success of this year's hunt -- and expected success next year -- should make larger hunts possible.

Cheers are in order for Anchorage area game biologist Rick Sinnott and the crew there at ADFG who hammered out the details, and to the hunters who did such a good job on this first hunt.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Recent Threads from the Alaska Hunting Forum

Senate tentatively passes ATV bill

The Alaska State Senate on Wednesday passed SB85 which would open up the TransAlaska pipeline corridor to ATVs and snowmachines, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The margin of passage was slim: 11-9, and one senator has served notice of reconsideration, which could mean the Senate could take up the bill again before transmitting it to the Alaska House of Representatives.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Comment on hunting regulations proposals due soon

Comment on proposed changes in the Alaska hunting regulations are due in just a few weeks. The Alaska Board of Game will be meeting March 10-20 on Interior Region proposals. Comments must be received by 5 PM on 24 February to be included in Board members workbooks. Proposals to be considered by the Board will potentially change moose, caribou, Dall sheep, bison, brown and black bear, and other regulations.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Board of Game concludes winter meeting

The Alaska Board of Game concluded its winter meeting in Anchorage on January 30. Probably the most significant action it took was allowing the sale of brown and black bear hides taken in certain areas of the state. The Board also passed a regulation changed based on a proposal to repeal or modify the sheep sealing requirements. ADF&G has a complete list of the board's actions. These actions can be best understood in reference to the proposal booklet.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Superior court refuses to halt wolf control program

According to the Anchorage Daily News, an Alaska Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that the state of Alaska acted properly in establishing an emergency declaration that allowed the stalled wolf control program to be restarted. The same judge had closed the program down two weeks earlier citing that the Alaska Board of Game had failed to follow its own procedures. The judge had ruled on a suit that had been brought against the state by the Friends of Animals, and on Tuesday, ruled on a request for an injunction against the program.

The News reported that "Judge Sharon Gleason said the Board of Game was justified in creating a new wolf-control plan under an emergency declaration. She also said the board had made a good-faith effort to address the concerns she'd raised in a Jan. 17 ruling that temporarily halted the program."