Alaska Wolf And Bear Hunts Helping Moose

AK Department Of Fish & Game, Bear Hunting Magazine

The wildlife management program in which wolves are shot from low-flying airplanes and black bears are baited and snared is helping to increase the numbers of moose and caribou in Alaska their wildlife officials stated in a recent news release.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says moose and caribou numbers in several areas have increased due to the predator control program that began in 2003. This program, which is in place in only certain areas of Alaska, has eliminated over 1,000 wolves and hundreds of bears. Though this program has long been the target of wildlife conservation groups who view it as state-sponsored slaughter, it looks to be having the desired effect on caribou and moose numbers.

"I think there are some real success stories here," Bruce Bartley, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said.

The agency recently released its 2008-2009 predation management summary that indicates that moose and caribou numbers in six predator control areas have increased. The agency points to two areas in particular as examples of where the program is showing strong results: the Nelchina Basin area and the southern Alaska Peninsula.

The program is getting substantive results in the McGrath area, where it began in December 2003. Last winter and spring, 28 wolves were killed in the McGrath area. Nineteen were taken under the programand nine were hunted and trapped.

The agency said the moose population there has grown from 2,774 in 2004 to an estimated 5,500 moose now. The goal is to reach 6,000 to 8,000 moose. "Moose numbers have come up substantially," Bartley said.

In the Nelchina Basin area, one of the more contentious predator control areas because it is accessible to urban hunters from the Anchorage area, 119 wolves were killed. 55 of those were taken under the control program and the other 64 were hunted or trapped.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game stated that this helped the moose population increase 27 percent. The harvest, meanwhile, went up only 18 percent.

For the first time in more than a decade non-resident hunters will be allowed to hunt bull moose. Bartley said that the 50 permits non-resident hunters receive should not interfere with the supply of moose for Alaskans because it is being allowed in more remote areas only.

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