By Joseph Robertia
Before hunters set their sights on the upcoming season, they should direct their eyes to hunting regulations, because some have changed this year.
First and foremost, the season dates have changed. Instead of the general season running from Aug. 20 to Sept. 20, the general season now opens Sept. 1 and closes Sept. 25. The archery-only general season in Game Management Units 15A and 15B also is later this year, from Aug. 22 to 29.
But the requirement for legal bulls remains the same for the general moose hunt in GMUs 7 and 15 (which encompass the entire peninsula). A bull must have a spike on one side, have antlers with at least four brow tines on one side, or have an antler spread of 50 inches or greater.
“There was confusion over what a spike and a fork were and we had a lot with a fork on one side and more than a fork on the other. It’s only legal if it has a spike on one side. If it has two forks it’s not a spike-fork, it’s a fork-fork. People need to really be sure what they’ve got in front of them before they pull that trigger,” said Jeff Selinger, area management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
In GMUs 7 and 15, antlers must be sealed within 10 days of taking the animal. This can be done during business hours at Fish and Game offices in Soldotna, Homer or Anchorage, or at an Alaska State Trooper Division of Wildlife office by appointment.
“The other big change to the moose hunt season is that the Homer cow hunt, DM 549, will also be shifted to Oct. 20 through Nov. 20, rather than running from Aug. 20 to Sept. 20,” Selinger said.
Selinger said he was optimistic that hunting a little later in the year would yield extra opportunities. Last season, 1,350 hunters took to the field and several of them came home with meat for the freezer.
In GMU 15C, the bulk of which encompasses the Homer and Caribou Hills areas, 128 bulls were taken last year, as well as 18 females in the Homer cow hunt. Since it has been several years since the more than 55,000-acre wildfire of 2007, some areas are regenerating in a way that will help moose.
“We should see some benefits there. A lot of the area came back grass, but a lot of areas had good willow regeneration,” Selinger said.