Lower Kuskokwim Hunters Report Half As Many Bull Moose Harvested In Zone 1 As Last Year
Hunters along the lower Kuskokwim River have harvested fewer moose this fall than in recent years.
State biologist Patrick Jones wrote in an email that as of Sept. 21, hunters had reported 122 bull moose harvested in Zone 1 and 20 bulls harvested in Zone 2. Zone 1 refers to the moose hunting area between the mouth of the Kuskokwim River and Kalskag, including the Gweek River. Zone 2 refers to the Kuskokwim tributaries that flow from the Kilbuck Mountains. This year’s Zone 1 harvest is about half the number of bull moose that were harvested there last year when 239 bull moose were taken in Zone 1.
Part of the reason for the decrease is because Zone 1 was open to hunting for 11 days last year compared to nine days this year, but this year’s Zone 1 harvest is also lower than every year since 2016.
Jones said that he did not have a good explanation for why moose harvest numbers have been low this year. He said about 40 moose usually get reported very late. If reported, this would close the gap for the state's harvest objective this year. Almost two weeks have passed since Zone 1’s hunting period closed. If you haven’t already done so, you can report your harvest at hunt.alaska.gov.
Jones said that the lower Kuskokwim moose population is healthy and growing. In 2020, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game counted 3,230 moose in Zone 1 compared to 515 in 2008. Jones said that year-to-year fluctuations in harvests are normal.
Jones said that 1.600 hunters have been issued a permit to harvest a bull moose this fall. That’s less than last year, but more than average. Those hunters still have an opportunity to take a moose in Zone 2. The federal subsistence board extended the hunting period in that area by two weeks this year. Zone 2 closes at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 15.