Bethel Fish and Game advisory committee forms and goes to work

by Ben Matheson on March 1, 2014

The new Bethel Fish and Game Advisory Committee held its first meeting last night. Member of the public elected seven members to the 11 member panel. Those include Greg Roczicka, Kevin Carter, Jon Lavalle, Henry Kohl, Ross Boring, Rafe Johnson, and Louie Andrew.

Four members were named earlier to the committee by the joint board. Those include Glen Watson, Henry Hunter, Thad Tikiun and Robert Lekander. Henry Hunter was elected to a one year term as Chairman. Members elected Glen Watson as Vice chairman and Ross Boring as Secretary.

They took action on a Board of Game musk oxen proposal for Nelson Island. There are currently too many animals for the food supply to support. The management goal is a population of 250 to 450 muskoxen, but ADFG counted 760 in 2012. There might have been 900 in 2013, and 1000 counted this year.

Amid concern that the land could be overgrazed, the department wants to issue 150 tags for 3 or 4 years. Before they were limited to a total of 42. The Bethe AC threw out language from the Board of Game that would have issued just 40 permits to local residents in person. Most of the remainder in the proposal would be issued via online permits that would be open to all.

The AC chose to urge the board to give the majority out in person on Nelson Island. When the number of permits exceeds 100 as it is expected to be next year, up to 80% would issued on Nelson Island and 20% issued to the remainder of unit 18.

Concerning Nunivak island muskox, the committee tabled a proposal that would allow locals in the registration hunt to take bulls. Right now they take cows, but have only been allocated five animals the past three years while the population rebuilds and sex ratio equalizes. Guided hunters take bulls in the drawing hunt. The committee wanted to get feedback from Mekoryuk residents before acting on a proposal.

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