The state has documented three years of declining moose populations in those districts, while other opportunities will be available for hunters between January and February, as the weather permits. Mulchatna caribou herds are also lower than the minimum target population for the second year in a row.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will not be issuing RM 585 permits for the additional moose hunt in units 17 B and C this year.
The permit is typically issued this month with the hunt starting in December. Todd Rinaldi, the regional coordinator for the Nushagak district, said the state has documented three years of declining moose populations in those districts.
“We’ve documented really low survival and recruitment of moose calves in 17 and 17C. That issue may have been going on longer before we started to document that issue," he said. "But the fact that the population has been in decline and that the productivity and survival is low, we are concerned for the population in 17C.”
Rinaldi added that until the state can gather more information about those populations, the RM 585 hunt will remain closed.
“Specifically some composition information, understanding the composition of the herd," he said. "The proportion of males, females and calves in the population would give us a better understanding of where this herd might be going.”
Rinaldi said additional hunting opportunities will be available in Unit 17A under permits RM 575 and RM 576. There will be a 31 day-opener between the months of January and February when travel conditions allow for that hunt to take place.
Rinadli also raised concerns about the population of the Mulchatna caribou herd. This year's survey estimate reported 8,782 animals, that's 500 less than last year's count and well below the minimum target population of 30,000 caribou. The state counted 9,294 animals in 2019.
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