The Board of Game established two new predator control
programs in the Central Kuskokwim Area of Units 19A&B
and in the Western Cook Inlet area of Unit 16B, and plans
to consider another in the Tok area at their next meeting.
the Central Kuskokwim and West Cook Inlet areas, moose are
important for providing high levels of harvest for human consumptive
use, according to the Intensive Management law.
the Central Kuskokwim area, the Board has limited control
activities to Unit 19A which encompasses 9,969 square miles
along the Kuskokwim River between Lower Kalskag and Lime Village.
The moose population objective is set at 13,500-16,500 moose
providing a harvest of 750-950 moose annually. Currently,
the population is estimated at 6,890-11,300 moose and between
200-300 are being harvested each year.
Board authorized the Department to issue permits to members
of the public including land and shoot or shooting from aircraft
after July 1, 2004. The program is aimed at an approximate
80 percent temporary reduction in the wolf population in Unit
19A for up to five years. An estimated 180-240 wolves inhabit
the area now, and up to about 140-190 wolves should be taken
the first year of the program. The Board findings state that
at no time should the wolf population in the Central Kuskokwim
Wolf Control Area be reduced to fewer than 40 wolves.
Board also encouraged the Department to continue efforts to
obtain additional moose population information to evaluate
the progress of the wolf predation control program.
Western Cook Inlet area encompasses about 10,000 square miles
in Unit 16B. The Board set a moose population objective of
6,500-7,500 moose intended to provide a harvest of 310-600
moose annually. Currently, the population is estimated at
3,423-4,321 moose and between 69-122 are being harvested each
Western Cook Inlet wolf control program was authorized for
four years. The Board authorized the Department to issue permits
to members of the public to conduct land and shoot or shooting
from aircraft after July 1, 2004. The wolf population in Unit
16B will be reduced from about 88-137 to 22-45 wolves for
four years. At no time will the population of wolves be reduced
to less than 20 wolves.
Board has also taken action to increase harvest of black and
brown/grizzly bears in the Western Cook Inlet control area
by extending seasons, eliminating the brown bear tag fee,
increasing the brown bear limit and changing the black bear
addition to authorizing two new control programs, the Board
asked the Department to provide a draft implementation plan
for control of predation by bears and wolves for the Tok area
in Units 12 and 20E for consideration at their November meeting.
programs can be established if predation control implementation
plans, which delineate an overall area in which a control
program can be conducted, are in effect for an area. Board
members adopted wolf control implementation plans for Unit
16B during their last meeting in November, 2003, and for the
Central Kuskokwim earlier in the current meeting.
Board is concerned about the declining trend in the moose
population in the Tok area. The declining trend will make
it impossible to sustain current levels of harvest, which
are already below intensive management harvest objectives.
The Board indicated that a predator control program in the
Tok area could prevent the current situation from becoming
in the meeting the Board adopted a policy outlining the process
to be used when considering bear management. The Board also
created a new "Control of Predation by Bears" section
of the wildlife regulations parallel to the preexisting "Control
of Predation by Wolves." The new section will govern
management decisions when bear predation needs to be reduced.
management of bears was attempted only through changes in
hunting seasons and bag limits. The new section states that
the Board will first look at seasons and bag limits, but if
necessary could consider other tools, including baiting and
same day airborne taking. Aerial shooting of bears will not
other wolf related news, the Board voted Monday to preserve
the "Denali Wolf Buffer," but reconsidered the topic
on Tuesday. In an attempt to respond to concerns of eight
advisory committees that supported eliminating the buffer,
the Board voted to change the boundary to affect the minimum
amount of state and private land while providing adequate
protection for viewing. The area closed to wolf hunting and
trapping now includes state and private land between the eastern
park boundary and a line parallel to and one mile east of
the Parks Highway, from Healy Creek to Windy.
boundary changes will take effect July 1, 2004.
Board adjourned at noon and is scheduled to meet again in
Juneau in November.
Contact: Cathie Harms (907) 459-7231