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AN EVALUATION OF SELECTIVE BULL MOOSE HARVEST ON THE KENAI PENINSULA, ALASKA

TitleAN EVALUATION OF SELECTIVE BULL MOOSE HARVEST ON THE KENAI PENINSULA, ALASKA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsSchwartz, CC, Hundertmark, KJ, Spraker, TH
JournalAlces
Volume28
Pagination1–13
Abstract

Low bull:cow ratios (5-12 bull:lOO cows) on the Kenai Peninsula prompted the Alaska Board of Game to institute a selective harvest system (SHS) for bull moose (A lees alces) in 1987. Under SHS only those males with spike or forked antlers (yearlings) or bulls with antlers greater than or equal to 50 inches in spread or with three tines on one brow palm were legal. Population and harvest statistics for 5 years prior to SHS were compared to the first 5 years of SHS. Total bull harvest ( 636 vs. 443 moose) and the numberofhunters (3602 vs. 2605) declined significantly (P < 0.05) under SHS. However, hunter success did not change (18 vs 16%). Population modeling was useful to demonstrating to the public anticipated declines in the moose harvest and changes in the bull:cow ratios following implementation of SHS. Modeling accurately predicted both harvest and changes in bull:cow ratios following both normal and severe winters. Based on harvest statistics approximately 34, 79, 47, and 19% of yearling, 2-3, 4-5, and bulls greater than 6 years of age, respectively, were protected under SHS. The reported illegal harvest of 7% of the legal kill under SHS was mainly sub-legal bulls mistaken for larger antlered animals. The bull:cow ratio increased from 16 bulls:100 cows to 29 bulls:100 cows 3 years after implementation of SHS. As the number of bulls in the population increased, no changes in calf:cow ratios, pregnancy rates, or sex ratio of calves was detected. SHS is an alternative to the traditional any bull season. The harvest system allows for unlimited hunter participation, optimizes recreational opportunity, and precludes the need for more restrictive seasons usually applied after severe winters. Management implications and recommendations are discussed.

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