Winter moose hunters faring well, despite poor conditions (again)

Dec 15, 2015

At least a dozen moose harvested through Monday in GMU's 17B an C, says Fish and Game.

Credit courtesy Togiak Refuge

KDLG: The 17B and C winter moose hunt is already halfway through its season, and hunters seem to be making due with what has again shaped up to be an underwhelming month of December. Area wildlife biologist Neil Barten offered a halftime update Tuesday morning.

“Well we’ve got 12 moose reported, but there’s probably more out there,” he said, describing a several pulled out of the area off Snake Lake Road, others by the Snake River, and a few from near Clarks Point.

Barten said he’ll be checking this week with the upriver villages to see how their efforts are going, which may add to the tally. 

For the third December in a row, the weather conditions have not proven very favorable for some of the traditional means of winter travel. That’s left some hunters down, but far from out.

“People are innovative,” said Barten, who said he can tell from reports into the office that’s it’s not been easy. “You know, a little bit of snowmachine, a lot of four wheelin, pumpin’ and bumpin’ across the tundra to get to these pockets where there’s moose. I talked to one guy who went and got a moose with an ATV. Along on the tundra a little later came a snowmachine right by them. There wasn’t any snow at all, but the person was going after it,” he said with a laugh.

While the 17B and C seasons will wrap up at midnight on New Year’s Eve, the 17A season further west has yet to be scheduled. That’s on account of recent changes made by the Alaska Board of Game, making that 30 day season more flexible

“We went to the Board last year and extended the period where we can run that hunt all the way till the end of February,” said Barten. “I’ve been talking almost daily with Togiak Advisory Committee members and the Fish and Wildlife Service, just kind of keeping tabs on how their weather’s doing. Basically leaving it up to those guys to decide when they want to open the hunt. Right now they’re kind of cooling their jets because they just really don’t have good enough travel conditions.”

Last year, despite the poor travel conditions, hunters in 17B and C recorded 34 bulls harvested during the December hunt, and hunters in 17A downed 17 moose, split between bulls and cows by the time that season ended.