Don't Issue Cow Moose Permits

Letter to the Editor / Juneau Empire / March 12, 2004

I would like to question the decision of the Fish & Game to allow 100 cow moose permits in the Gustavus area. This will mean a certain end to a very viable moose population. My guess is that the Park Service has influenced our Fish & Game to come up with this excessive number of permits because the Park Service does not want to have to deal with hunters.

I have hunted for over 40 years (haven't missed a year), and I have seen these cow permits devastate the moose populations in most of the game management units where they were employed. The cow moose cannot be killed off and the moose population is expected to increase; after all, it is the cow population that produces the calves.

The 1960-1970 period in Unit 20 along the Taylor Highway yielded an abundant moose population, but after nearly 10 years of cow season to this day the moose have never come back. The Nebesna area in Unit 11 and 12 is even worse: There are untold miles of prime moose country and hardly any moose to be found. There was a long period of cow permits in that area also during that same timeframe.
Our own Berners Bay just north of here until a few years ago had a healthy moose herd, but then came the introduction of cow permits. The results were few moose to be found.

The standard answers that the Fish & Game puts forth is lack of browse but long-legged moose migrate miles in search of new feeding grounds. That's not to say that the lack of habitat doesn't support some animal culling, but it should be done carefully. The lack of a suitable predator control program does not help either.

I still think that the Park Service has interjected their decision into the Fish & Game's choice for 100 cow permits in Gustavus.

--Bud Womack / Juneau

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