Moose hunting is in full-swing in Unit 18. The Lower Yukon, the Unit Remainder area, and the Lower Kuskokwim are all open. The smallest hunt by far is on the Lower Kuskokwim, where game managers are trying to grow the population after a five year hunting moratorium.
The fall hunt, in its fourth year, runs from September 1-10 unless it’s closed early. The open area is from about Kalskag downriver to the mouth. The bag limit is one antlered bull and the quota this year is 100; 81 of those on state land and 19 on federal land.
Although permits are still coming in from villages, it is estimated that permits range in the 1,200 to 1,300′s permits filled out for the hunt.
As of 5 p.m. on Sept. 4, 29 moose were reported harvested.
Phyllip Perry is the Area Management Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
“A little slower than the past two years, which kind of surprises me with the big three day weekend and everything,” Perry said. “I’m pretty confident we’ll still get to our hundred, and we’ll probably have to close early, but at this moment, the closure is not eminent.”
In the Lower Kuskokwim hunt, hunters are required to report their catch within 24 hours so managers can close the hunt before the 10th if the quota is reached.
The quick reporting requirement is important, says Perry. The last two hunts have had a 24 hour reporting period, which has kept harvests closer to the quota than the first year.
“We didn’t close it early the first year and we went over the quota by quite a bit,” Perry said. “And that year we had a 48 hour reporting requirement, so that had us lag behind far enough that it made us re-evaluate and decide that a 24 hour reporting requirement, if we wanted to stay close to that quota, would be needed. So that’s why we changed that.”
In 2009, the quota was 75 bulls, but hunters took about 110.
Last year, the quota was 100 and hunters took 112.