The Alaska Board of Game (BOG) met March 26-30 in Anchorage and adopted numerous proposals. Of particular interest to Alaskans are Kenai Peninsula moose hunt restrictions, deer harvest reporting changes, and a statewide restriction on the use of tasers for taking of game.
The BOG eliminated nonresident bull moose hunts in GMUs 15A and 15C and changed antler requirements for a legal bull moose throughout the Kenai Peninsula. The new regulation eliminates the taking of spike-fork moose and limits legal animals in general season hunts to moose with antlers spanning at least 50 inches or with four or more brow tines on at least one side. In addition, the board adopted a requirement to have antlers sealed within ten days for any moose taken in GMUs 7 and 15. These changes to moose hunting on the Kenai Peninsula are aimed at boosting low bull to cow ratios.
“We do not believe the additional antler restrictions will be a long term strategy, but we do believe they are necessary at this time to increase our depressed bull to cow ratio,” said Jeff Selinger, Area Biologist for the Division of Wildlife Conservation in the Kenai Peninsula.
Other factors affecting Kenai moose include habitat limitations, severe winters and moose-vehicle collisions which kill an average of 250 moose each winter. Overall moose habitat has declined on the Kenai because wildfires, which rejuvenate moose habitat, have been limited in the area over the last 40 years.
Regarding deer hunting, the BOG passed a proposal requiring deer hunters to report their hunting efforts by turning in deer harvest report cards or reporting online rather than responding to a deer harvest survey. This decision represents a significant change for Alaska's deer hunters and unifies the policy for all areas of the state where deer harvest occurs. Online harvest reporting, in particular, can improve deer management by providing ADF&G biologists more complete and accurate harvest data in a timely manner. Similar reporting requirements are already in place for other big game species such as moose, caribou, sheep, and black bear.
The Board of Game also passed a statewide proposal prohibiting the use of Electronic Control Devices (ECD) for the taking of game, except under a permit issued by ADF&G.
There has been recent media attention on ECD use on wildlife, particularly on bears and moose, and subsequent public and wildlife safety concerns relating to this use. The department recognized the lack of authority to regulate the use of ECDs on wildlife and brought the concern to the Board of Game. Restricting the use of ECD technology will reduce the risk of improper or unethical use on wildlife by the public or other agency personnel who are unfamiliar with the potential effects and hazards. This change does not impact other legal uses of these devices by the general public for the purpose of personal protection, or their use by law enforcement in human restraint.