While area big game hunters may be itching to start out on the moose season, some have a little longer to wait this year.
Both the general and archery-only seasons for moose in Game Management Units 15A and parts of 15B have recently been altered, said Jeff Selinger, area wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna. Archery hunters who in the past would have been out hunting by now will have to wait until the new start date of Monday, Aug. 22.
Previously, the general moose season was Aug. 20 — Sept. 20, with the archery-only season falling before that from Aug. 10–17, Selinger said. At a March 2015 meeting, the Alaska Board of Game shifted the general season hunt dates to September 1–25, and the archery-only hunt dates to August 22–29 for units 15A and 15B, according to a summary of changes adopted by the board at that meeting.
“The main reason is to allow antlers to develop further,” Selinger said, explaining that, around Aug. 10, those antlers are still in the process of growing.
By the later start date of Aug. 22, Selinger said the antlers are “still going to put on a bit of growth,” but not much.
The general hunt dates were changed first, so the archery-only hunt dates were shifted correspondingly, he said. The change leaves a two-day window between the archery-only season and the regular season.
Some prospective hunters may not be aware of the recent change, Selinger said, so it’s important to keep up with changing regulations for any management unit or hunting season.
“Every year prior to hunting people should review the regulations for the area they’re going to hunt,” he said, explaining that regulations can change at any point.
Regulation books can be picked up at the Fish and Game offices in Homer and Soldotna or viewed online. Staff at the Fish and Game offices are always willing to answer questions about rules and regulations if hunters are unsure of something, he said.
“Any time you do changes, you know, some people don’t realize that a change is made,” Selinger said. “And again the best way to avoid that confusion is that every year, before hunting season starts … you know, pick up a copy of the new regulations and go through it.”
Selinger said another good reminder is that hunters still need to bring any bull moose taken on the Kenai Peninsula to the Department of Fish and Game to be measured.
Reach Megan Pacer at firstname.lastname@example.org.