Lots of moose and lots of snow, as winter hunt kicks off Tuesday around Togiak
Incessant snowfall has delayed the start of the 31-day hunt because it’s been hard to put in trails. The bag limit for the hunt is two – an antlered bull and an antlerless moose.
Todd Rinaldi, the state’s regional coordinator for Unit 17, said the Department of Fish and Game works with federal and local partners to decide when to open the hunt each year based on travel conditions.
Rinaldi said the incessant snowfall has delayed the start of the 31-day hunt because it’s been hard to put in trails.
“Once the trails and the snow settles down and begins to pack out travel conditions should be pretty good," he said. "But with all the light, fluffy snow, and all the recent snowfall I think at first it'll probably be a hindrance for travel. And that's one of the things that we were sensitive to and can have continued conversation with the folks in Togiak.”
Biologists last conducted an aerial survey under good snow conditions almost five years ago, in March of 2017. It indicated that the Unit 17A population was more than 2,000 moose — twice what managers are aiming for. Another survey in 2019 showed that the population was still robust.
“Our productivity is really high," Rinaldi said. "The bull-to-cow ratios are really good. We do see an increase in bear predation on the younger moose and that's probably to be expected to consume the number of moose in the area. But overall we're looking to expand harvests in Unit 17 so that we can conserve the habitat and continue to provide a good opportunity.”
The bag limit for the hunt is two – an antlered bull and an antlerless moose. Hunters who have already taken an animal this season can still participate, but they can only bag one more moose.
Registration permits are available at the Fish and Game’s office in Dillingham and at the Togiak Traditional Council office. Successful hunters must report to the department or the traditional council within three days of killing a moose, and all permit reports should be returned to the department within 15 days of the season's January 20 closure. Hunters are required to file a report whether or not they were successful.
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