The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Game committee group looks at moose, bears, falcons

 

Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

One of a handful of mooose living in the vicinity of Resurrection Bay. Local Fish and Game Advisory Committee chair Jim McCracken has been known to say that they're all known to the community by name.

While moose preoccupy those concerned with wildlife management in other area of the Kenai Peninsula, the Seward Fish and Game Advisory Committee figures that the Seward area barely has enough of a moose population to even raise the subject. Moose at the practical level came into a discussion at their November meeting only when adjacent areas inside Game Unit 7 where Sewardites travel to see moose were covered under management proposals.

The subject of overlapping areas of interest and the weight of comments from outside users who travel to harvest wildlife was touched on in the consideration of the latest entries in a book compiling proposals for new fish and game regulations. In Game Unit 7 which includes Hope, Whittier, Kenai Fjords National Park and Seward, only two moose were harvested in 2013. In contrast, an average of 25 moose per year end up as road kill in the area.

Committee leader Jim McCracken commented on the drop-off in moose population in his experience and questioned what practical options remain for creating more moose food. Fish and Game biologist Jeff Selinger outlined historical factors that created a friendlier habitat for moose including the intervention of miners in early 1900s who burned down substantial portions of the forest and hunted predators aggressively.

Indeed, deficits of moose food in the form of younger trees and leafy vegetation has been pointed to as a primary reason for the reduction in moose numbers across the Peninsula. However, committee member Bob White also expressed a view that cow and calf loss to brown bears was the significant reason for the depressed numbers in local drainages and that would not change until brown bears were at much lower levels.

However low the moose profile is in the vicinity of Resurrection Bay, there are certainly enough bears to make life interesting. Bears seems to be thriving Peninsula-wide despite harvests of 422 black bears and 69 brown bears. The Eastern Peninsula contributed kills of 141 black and 12 brown bears to the total. Other local harvest numbers for the past year included six wolves, 90 marten, 15 beaver, 23 lynx and seven wolverine

Another initiative that engaged the committee's attention was a proposal by an outside group to carve out a larger quota of Alaska raptors for capture. As a former falconer, committee member Jeanette Hanneman took interest in the proposal and presented her findings to the gathering. She stated that the group submitting the proposal, American Falconry Conservancy, had a constitutional right to take raptors in Alaska even though their proposal was specifically for non residents.

She felt the Alaska Falconry Association had done an excellent job of addressing each major point put forth by the proposers and had offered a legitimate, counter proposal to the Alaska Board of Game. One concern is the international raptor trade and the prospect of less effective oversight and protection for these birds outside of the U.S.

It was suggested that the new regulation, if adopted, exclude non citizens. Another concern was proposed to open borders where people from the Lower 48 could bring their birds here to hunt. Robin Collman and Hanneman said all of the species mentioned in the proposal are found in the Lower 48, though the Gyrfalcons are rare. Collman theorized that this is the target bird for people from Outside.

McCracken summarized by critizing the proposal as incomplete as it did not follow the format prescribed by Board Support and left many sections blank. He also noted that it will cost ADF&G more money to administer this additional program and in keeping with other permits and licenses, the non residents should pay higher fees than residents. Generally, on that basis, the committee voted to recommend against the proposal.

The next scheduled advisory committee meeting is at 7 p.m., Jan. 16 to review the outcomes of the Board of Fish meetings and conduct the election of advisory committee members. Those with expired terms are Jim McCracken, Jim Hubbard, Robin Collman, W.C. Casey and Ezra Campbell. The current 2013-14 game proposal book is online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=gameboard.main.

 

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