am a moose biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and
former vice chair of the Board of Game. Mike Fleagle stated
that Defenders of Wildlife misled us about moose calf hunting
and predator management.
is no aerial wolf shooting in the moose calf hunt area on the
Tanana Flats, but there is a wolf control plan (begun in 1996,
renewed March 2004, expires July 2009). It allows chasing and
hunting of wolves from snowmachines. Hunters may take five wolves;
trappers have no limit. Humans are the No. 1 cause of wolf mortality
in this area.
plan is to increase survival of Delta caribou herd calves and
double herd size. Nonetheless, the herd has continued to decline
or remain stable. Previous wolf control created a historic high
population in the 1980s that resulted in overgrazed habitat.
It may not recover for many years.
the plan may have caused an overabundance of moose and serious
destruction of moose habitat, necessitating calf hunts. Negative
ecosystem impacts by humans, including fire suppression, likely
inextricably link predator control to moose calf hunts.
we remove wolves and bears, we must continually monitor moose
conditions and/or habitat and establish hunting seasons that
mimic natural predation. With a large proportion of state lands
granted predator control, and with legalized aerial wolf hunting
in specific predator control areas, we will likely see a substantial
in-crease in moose calf hunts statewide.
Ph.D. / Fairbanks