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News Articles

Antlerless moose hunting limited after high success
WILDLIFE: Some areas remain open; biologists say cows must be culled.

The Associated Press

(Published: September 8, 2004)
FAIRBANKS -- State game managers closed three areas south of Fairbanks to the hunting of cow moose after hunters flocked in last week.

Six areas were opened to "antlerless" moose hunts aimed at culling 600 cows from a total population of about 16,000 moose

Game managers at midnight Monday closed seasons in the western Tanana Flats, the Ferry Trail and Healy-Lignite Management Areas, and the eastern Tanana Flats and Alaska Range foothills after less than a week.

"A combination of high hunter participation, good access in these areas and excellent weather resulted in high hunter success rates," said Don Young, Fairbanks area biologist for the Department of Fish and Game. The three areas had the smallest quotas and were the most accessible.

The hunt is designed to thin cows from a population biologists say is on the verge of collapse because it has grown too big.

The antlerless hunt drew considerable interest from hunters both inside and outside the Interior. The state issued more than 3,000 permits.

A 15-mile stretch of the Parks Highway between Healy and Anderson saw motor homes, campers or tents in most pullouts. Many of the hunters were from Southcentral Alaska.

Dry weather allowed hunters on four- and six-wheelers to have access to places usually made impassable by water.

By Sunday, hunters in the three closed areas had reported a harvest of about 80 antlerless moose, but many hunters had yet to report their kills, said Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms. Hunters in the areas must report a kill within three days to help biologists track the harvest.

Biologists expect the harvest to meet or exceed the quota in each area, she said.

To alert hunters of the closures, signs were put up on the Parks Highway between Nenana and Healy and on the Richardson Highway near Delta Junction. The closures are also being broadcast on the radio.

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