The Board of Game established a Central Kuskokwim
predation control area in Game Management Units 19A&B
to benefit a dwindling moose population and hunters.
an implementation plan to create a predation control area
is the first step in authorizing the Department of Fish and
Game to conduct a wolf control program. Before a control program
can be conducted, the Board must adopt findings relating to
a specific area. Findings for Unit 19A will be considered
before the Fairbanks meeting ends on Wednesday.
seven predation control areas are approved in the state, and
control programs are being conducted in two of them.
control area approved by the Board includes both Units 19A
and B, but only 19A is being considered for wolf control for
the first year of the program. Hunting in Unit 19A is limited
to Alaska residents, only.
control was proposed by the Central Kuskokwim Moose Management
Planning Committee (CKMC), which was concerned about declining
numbers of moose in the Central Kuskokwim area. The CKMC included
representatives of many user groups, including members of
the Central Kuskokwim, Lower Kuskokwim, Anchorage, and Matanuska
Valley Fish and Game Advisory Committees, guides, transporters,
and nonconsumptive users.
last week, the Board eliminated nonresident moose hunting
in Unit 19A along the Kuskokwim River between Lower Kalskag
and Lime Village. The Board also closed the resident winter
seasons to eliminate cow moose harvest, adopted a resident
registration hunt to help improve harvest reporting, shortened
both resident and nonresident moose seasons in 19B, and established
antler restrictions for resident hunters using harvest tickets
in Unit 19B.
moose hunting will be closed for one year in Unit 19A. The
Board intends to reconsider the issue at its March 2005 meeting.
At that time, board members will evaluate new information
about subsistence use, moose, wolves and bears, and determine
if some nonresident hunting can be provided. They will also
consider whether the predator control program should be broadened
to increase moose numbers in the Unit 19B area as well.
local hunters, guides, and state wildlife troopers have observed
a decline in moose numbers over at least the past six years.
Additionally, most members of the Central Kuskokwim Advisory
Committee have advocated wolf control in the area for several
years. All hunters on the CKMC agreed that wolf control is
essential to moose population recovery and maintaining hunting
opportunities. The dissenting opinion was held by a member
of the committee representing nonconsumptive uses.
and local hunters agreed about the need for predator control,
but did not agree about whether to stop hunting by nonresidents
in Unit 19A. Local hunters wanted protection of subsistence
hunting and objected to competition from nonresidents taking
moose in the area. Guides stated that their clients did not
compete with local hunters, given that nonresidents were already
excluded from hunting along the river corridors.
Chair Mike Fleagle said the Board tried to maintain some level
of nonresident hunting in the area because local residents
benefit from the guide industry both by the money brought
into local economies and from meat donated to village residents.
Guides and their clients also harvest bears which can help
want to keep the guiding industry alive, while maintaining
the most opportunity we can for subsistence users," Fleagle
said. "The two uses can co-exist, but there needs to
be some spatial separation until the moose population recovers
to higher numbers."
Board plans to wrap up deliberations by Wednesday evening.