Local News

Moose harvest average this season in Wrangell-Petersburg area

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Moose season is wrapping up in the Wrangell-Petersburg area, and so far, it’s been a very average year for the hunt.

These are the harvest numbers as of October 10th:

The season opened September 15th.

Rich Lowell is the area wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Wildlife Conservation. He says the numbers in this region haven’t been particularly high or low this season.

“Well, this year’s season got off to a slow start. But right now, we are in keeping with the long-term average for this hunt. The preceeding 10-year average for moose taking in the RMO38 moose hunt is 74 moose per year. And right now, with five days left in the season, we are at 74 moose. So I think we’ll come in above average,” says Lowell.

That’s in contrast to last year’s 61 total moose. But, Lowell says, that amount of change year-to-year is normal.

“We’ve seen over the last 10 years the harvest has varied from as low as 47 per year up to 108 per year. The weather can influence moose behavior. The weather can also influence hunter behavior—whether or not they’re out in the field. So that amount of fluctuation is relatively normal with regard to what we’re used to seeing in this hunt,” says Lowell.

According to Lowell, Kupreanof Island is leading the Wrangell-Petersburg area hunt so far with 28 harvested.

The Stikine River has also been productive with 20 moose harvested. That number is in keeping with the 10-year average for the river.

There have been seven moose each on Mitkof Island and in Thomas Bay.

There have been four harvested in Farragut Bay near Petersburg and two both on Wrangell Island and in Port Houghton.

There has been one each on Zarembo Island, Etolin Island, Kuiu Island, and the Bradfield Mainland across from Wrangell.

In terms of rules and regulations, Lowell says there were no changes to the RMO38 hunt this year.

The number of kills that don’t meet regulations is slightly higher than average this year, but not by much.

“Typically we see about 10% of the harvest fails to comply with the antler restrictions over the course of the years. Of the moose we’ve had checked in so far, eight of those animals failed to comply with the moose antler restrictions,” says Lowell.

Those restrictions are that the antlers must have a spike or a fork on at least one side.

The animal can have two brow tines on both sides, three or more brow tines on one side, or 50 inches in antler spread.

Also, an animal is not considered to have a spike or a fork because of an antler break.

This season’s bag limit is one moose per person.

The season closes on October 15th and hunters have five days after that to check in their kills.

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