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Moose hunting season in Kuskokwim area of Y-K Delta begins Sept. 1

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Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Fish and Game
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Residents of the Y-K Delta can begin hunting for moose along the Kuskokwim as soon as Sept. 1.

Along the main stem of the Kuskokwim, also known as Zone 1, the season runs from Sept. 1 to Sept. 9. For Zone 2, which follows tributaries like the Kwethluk River and the Kisaralik River toward the highlands west of the Kuskokwim, moose hunting season stays open until Oct. 15.

Flying and snow conditions prevented a comprehensive moose count from being completed last winter, but Phillip Perry from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) said that they expect a similar moose population to that of the past few years. As such, no regulations have changed in terms of bag limits. Residents are still allowed one bull moose in Zone 1 or 2, and there is no open season on moose for non-residents in the Y-K Delta.

“On the Kuskokwim we're still hoping to grow a population a little bigger, so we're not harvesting any cows,” Perry said.

Perry said that ADF&G expects around 300 moose to be harvested during open season, noting that when he started counting moose in the Y-K Delta in the early 2000s, the entire population amounted to less than 100.

“We're probably closer to, you know, 3,000 moose now. So it's been a big, big increase and a lot more moose are available for harvest than we even used to have,” Perry said.

There are also three permitted moose hunting opportunities in the regions around Quinhagak and Goodnews Bay. The season for those two areas is from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30 with a bag limit of one bull for the area of Quinhagak, and one bull or one moose from the Goodnews Bay hunting region. You can find detailed hunt maps online.

On the Yukon, there are no permits required, just a harvest ticket. Moose hunting on the Yukon began in August. According to Perry, that’s because the population of moose along the Yukon has grown high enough that it’s stretching the habitat’s capacity to sustain the moose.

“The weight of calves in the spring is very low. Basically by the end of the winter they're on the verge of starving, and some of them are,” Perry said. “So we'd like fewer moose there, which is why we have a two moose bag limit and you can shoot bulls or cows.”

One change from last year is that moose permits can be acquired on the ADF&G smartphone app, as well as online or in person in Bethel.

Will McCarthy is a temporary news reporter at KYUK. Previously, he worked as a furniture mover, producer, and freelance journalist. Will's written for the New York Times, National Geographic, and Texas Monthly. He holds a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.