The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is continuing its hunting program designed to reduce the moose population along the Mat-Su roads. The program is a targeted hunt that allows as many as 300 hunters access to areas along the Parks Highway, Glenn Highway, and Knik-Goose Bay Road; within two miles of the road, hunters using only a bow or a shotgun can harvest a cow or calf moose. The state started the hunt to reduce moose-vehicle collisions in those potentially dangerous corridors but it’s also become a popular midwinter opportunity for fresh game in an area of the state where biologists say moose numbers are not only healthy but growing. Supporters of the program argue that it gives hunters access to moose meat before they are hit by a car, causing significant vehicular damage, death, and wasted road kill.
Todd Rinaldi, a state wildlife biologist, summarizes the argument best, stating, “In essence, put these moose in the freezer without involving an insurance man or a hospital.”
Over 1000 hunters applied for the program in October. Applicants had to have successfully completed a certified state hunter education program; bow hunters needed a bow hunter education certificate for some areas. Each week up to 12 people on the list are notified for their permit. Authorities urge hunters to get landowner permission before hunting on private land, though it’s not required by statute. And some hunters routinely contact landowners to ask permission to hunt on their land.
“We want to be successful,” one hunter said. “We don’t want to step on anybody’s toes.”
The targeted hunt began in March 2011 after heavy snows forced moose out of the mountains and down to roads where they could move more easily. In 2012 there were 148 moose harvested and most experts expect that number to be higher this year.
Source: Anchorage Daily News
Image Source: Flickr