Game managers are encouraging a large harvest of moose on the Lower Yukon River with a 7 month-long season and generous bag limit. The hunt area downriver of Mountain Village is open Aug. 1-Feb. 29. The bag limit is two antler-less moose except prior to Oct. 1 which allows for one antlered moose.
Phillip Perry, Unit 18 Area Management Biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, says managers have liberalized seasons multiple times over the last several years in an effort to get more moose harvested by more hunters. Most of this year’s hunt targets cows and calves to help curb population growth.
“We really do kind of need to harvest a lot of moose down there,” Perry says. “We’re quite afraid that the population at some point will get too high and go down drastically, so we’d like to have a large antler-less harvest to slow that growth down or stop that growth.”
But the antler-less bag limit of two moose only runs five out of the seven month season. Before October 1, a hunter can take two moose, but only one of them can have antlers. Also, hunters cannot harvest a cow accompanied with a calf or a calf.
“The reason is that, in August, if you shoot a cow that has a calf, there are pretty good chances that the calf is dependent on mom still,” said Perry. “So, an independent moose that doesn’t have a calf associated with it, is okay to harvest.”
Starting Oct. 1, the bag limit is two moose which must be antler-less.
“At that point, someone could shoot a cow and a calf, or any combination because by October 1st, while the calves may be dependent on mom behaviorally, they’re really not nutritionally dependent on mom anymore,” he says.
The other hunt on the Lower Yukon is in the Unit 18 remainder. That area is open Aug. 10-Sept 30. The remainder includes the area upriver of Mountain Village to the old village of Paimute above Russian Mission, as well as the upper portion of the Johnson River. The bag limit for the Remainder is one antlered bull moose.
The Remainder area will also have a winter hunt open from Dec. 20 through Feb. 29.