Lynx trapping remains closed

Lynx trapping will stay closed this year on the Kenai Peninsula as the wild cats and the prey they depend on move through a low phase of the population cycle. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the closure July 1 in management units 15 and 7, which encompass the peninsula, as well as unit 14c, which covers the region east of Turnagain and Knik Arms. Despite the trapping closure, a lynx hunting season will open in units 15 and 7 from Jan. 1, 2019 to Feb. 15, 2019.

Snowshoe hare are such a staple of the lynx diet that lynx populations grow and shrink based on their abundance, with Fish and Wildlife biologists opening and closing trapping seasons accordingly. Presently hare are in the end of a low phase after probably reaching a peak in the winter of 2011-2012, according to Fish and Game’s emergency order.

“The cycles always vary and they vary in intensity, depending on a lot of vegetative and climate conditions,” said Fish and Game Kenai Area Biologist Jeff Selinger. “But generally speaking they’re 10 to 12 years, somewhere in there.”

Like moose, hare favor young, low-growing shrubs and fresh shoots of aspen, birch, and willow — the sort of vegetation that grows after a forest fire has cleared away dense older trees such as black spruce. In the previous cycle of lynx population, a lot of this “habitat turnover” occurred in the central peninsula, driven by fires including the 2007 Caribou Hills fire, Selinger said.

Lynx harvest on the Kenai Peninsula began climbing in the hunting seasons after 2007, according to charts presented to the Alaska Board of Game in their March 2015 meeting, reaching a record 456 in the 2011-2012 season and sustaining that level with 433 taken the next. However, the reported lynx harvest dropped to 118 in 2013-2014, and Fish and Game began the present closure the following year.

Selinger speculated that hare may grow abundant around areas burnt by the 2014 Funny River fire, and the lynx will likely follow.

“We’re starting to see more hares now,” Selinger said. “Usually you want to wait a year or two after the hares start coming back — not necessarily peaking, but they’re well established and on the upswing. Once they start climbing up, you give the lynx a year or two to start litter production and the survival of kits — that’ll go with the hare increase — and that will allow for the trapping season to open up.”

Reach Ben Boettger at bboettger@peninsulaclarion.com

More in News

A sign warning of a June 28, 2021, bear attack is placed at the head of the Kenai River Trail on Skilak Loop Road in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Federal wildlife officers seek information about early-May black bear poaching

Officials think the poaching happened near the east entrance of Skilak Loop roughly 2 miles from Jims’ Landing

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Ninilchik woman dead after Tuesday collision

The woman was attempting to cross the Sterling Highway from Oil Well Road when she was struck by a pickup truck

Graduates listen to Connections Homeschool Principal Doug Hayman speak during the school’s commencement ceremony on Thursday in Soldotna. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Graduates listen to Connections Homeschool Principal Doug Hayman speak during the school’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Expect a lot from yourself and from others’

Connections Homeschool students accept diplomas at commencement ceremony

Screenshot
Graduates of Seward High School leave the gym at the end of their graduation ceremony on Wednesday.
‘Give people something to talk about’

Seward High School graduates 30

Kenai Police Chief David Ross speaks to Kenai City Council members about an ordinance that would repeal sections of city code that prohibit public sleeping and loitering and the city’s curfew on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai OKs repeal of loitering laws, curfew for minors

The policies, first enacted in 1978, are difficult to enforce and potentially violate citizens’ rights, according to the Kenai Police Department

Nikiski Middle/High School graduates throw their caps into the air at the conclusion of a graduation ceremony in the school’s gym in Nikiski, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Nikiski graduates ‘will always be a part of each other’s stories’

The graduates celebrated their time together and took a moment to anticipate the bright futures that lie ahead

A seal pup rescued from near Kenai beach is treated by the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program on May 9, 2024. (Photo courtesy Kaiti Grant/Alaska SeaLife Center)
SeaLife Center admits abandoned harbor seal pups

Both seals were found abandoned and malnourished, and both were born prematurely

Caitlin Babcock, left, and other graduates enter Soldotna High School’s commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna sends off more than 140 graduates at Tuesday commencement

More than 140 students stepped off the Soldotna High School graduation stage… Continue reading

Most Read