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Hunting Edition August 2012

Everything you need to know to bag this season’s best game News-Miner file


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

Moose numbers look good in Interior Lots of moose mean lots of opportunity

as drawing and registration permit hunts,” Young said, sizing up this season’s prospects. Here’s a unit-by-unit look at how this year’s hunts are shaping up.


Unit 20A

News-Miner file

A bull moose feeds in a small field on Dawson Road near Dundee Loop.


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• Fish & Game changes format for Minto Flats moose hunt. 5 • Dall sheep numbers faring well in Alaska, Brooks ranges. 6 • Fortymile Caribou Herd still Interior’s biggest. 7 • Changes to Fortymile hunt won’t mean much for hunters. 8 • Good grouse year shaping up. 10 • Delta bison harvest still dropping. 11 • More permits to hunt Nelchina caribou. 12 • An etiquette guide to hunting off the Haul Road. 13 • Central Arctic Caribou Herd offers plenty of opportunity. 13 • Deadline changed for drawing, subsistence permit applications. 14 • Hunting on military land. 15 • Advisory committee meetings give hunters a chance to speak up. 18 • Avoiding chronic wasting disease. 20 • How to clean your game. 22 • Tips to making that perfect shot. 24 A guide to sexing caribou. 25 • Tips for preserving your trophy. 26

Biologists estimate the moose population in unit 20A on the Tanana Flats south of Fairbanks at 11,000 to 14,000, according to an estimate last fall. The bull-to-cow ratio was estimated at 33 bulls per 100 cows. “The bull-to-cow ratio has been above the objective of 30 per 100 for six or eight years, and it’s been holding steady in the low 30s,” Young said. Twinning rates were down this year in most of the unit — 12 percent — except for central 20A, where biologists documented a twinning rate of 22 percent. That’s up from a long-term




The Interior, and Tanana Valley specifically, is the moose basket of Alaska, and there’s nothing to indicate that will change this hunting season. With another relatively mild winter in terms of snow depth, moose numbers look good in most game management units around Fairbanks, most notably units 20A and 20B. That should translate to a successful season for moose hunters, said Fairbanks area biologist Don Young at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “We have good moose densities, we have strong bull-to-cow ratios and we have a variety of different antlerless hunts available to public, as well


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

Eric Engman/ News-Miner file


A cow moose and her calf cross the road as they feed along the Parks Highway west of Ester.

Continued from Page 3

average of 7 percent and could be a sign that increased harvest of antlerless moose in that portion of the unit is having an effect, Young said. “It’s only one year and it’s nothing to hang your hat on, but it’s a sign possibly we’re seeing some density dependent effects,” he said. “That’s where we’ve reduced moose densities the most.” This season, the state issued a total of 918 drawing permits for cows, which is up 200 from last year, Young said. The antlerless hunt also has been split into three separate hunts — one from Aug. 15-31, one from Sept. 1-25 and one from Sept. 26-Nov. 15. “The theory behind that is it will spread out hunting pressure over longer period of time,” Young said. The state also issued 800 any-bull drawing permits, Young said. One change in unit 20A is that the winter registration permit hunt for antlerless moose was cut back. This year’s hunt will run from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30 instead of Feb. 28 and will only be held in the Alaska Range foothills in zones 3, 4 and 5. There will be no winter hunt for antlerless moose on the Tanana Flats this winter, Young said. Last year’s harvest in unit 20A was 787 moose — 527 bulls, 249 cows and 11 unknowns. That’s down slightly from past years and part of the reason might be fewer hunters. The number of hunters in unit 20A has dropped from around 1,800 seven or eight years ago to just 1,100 last year. Young suspects the number of hunters has dropped because

the antlerless hunt has been cut back and more hunters are going elsewhere such as units 20B, where the season was extended five days last season.

Unit 20B Biologists estimate there are 20,000 to 22,000 moose in unit 20B, which covers most of the road system in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The state has been trying to reduce the population by offering more antlerless moose hunts in recent years, and this year is no exception. The department issued a total of 1,150 drawing permits for antlerless moose. “We’d like to see somewhere around 400 (antlerless moose) harvested,” biologist Tony Hollis said. “If you harvest 2 to 2 1/2 percent of your population, you can reduce the number of moose.” Judging from twinning rates conducted this spring, the moose population still is too high. Twinning rates ranged from only 4 percent in central 20B to just 13 percent on the Minto Flats, where twinning rates typically are much higher. “The bottom line is we have too many moose in unit 20B, and as a result, we have poor nutrition, poor twinning rates

and low calf weights,” Hollis said. The one bright spot is the bull-to-cow ratio during the last unit-wide survey was 34 bulls per 100 cows, which is above the management objective of 30 per 100. The department is hoping to do another population survey this fall, Hollis said. The season in unit 20B was extended from Sept. 15 to Sept. 20 last year, but Hollis said there wasn’t a big spike in the harvest as a result of the longer season, though he didn’t have harvest numbers handy. “We expected more, but there wasn’t,” he said. “The harvest kind of shifted. Less moose were taken early, and more were taken late.”

Unit 20C The Department of Fish and Game conducted its first population survey in unit 20C west of the Nenana River and south of the Tanana River last fall. The moose population was estimated at 3,800 moose, not including moose in Denali National Park and Preserve. That translates to a moose density of only 0.6 moose per square mile, which is extremely low and the main reason the unit has an extremely high

bull-to-cow ratio of 49 bulls per 100 cows. “That’s fairly common in low density areas,” Hollis said. The season in unit 20C was lengthened from Sept. 1-20 to Sept. 1-25, which could attract more hunters and bump up the harvest. The average harvest in unit 20C is 126 moose per year. “People are attracted to it because of the any-bull season,” Hollis said. “It’s low density, and when have low density, you have pockets of moose. There are places where moose hunting is really good, and there are places where it’s really poor.”

Unit 20F The department hasn’t conducted a population survey in unit 20F, which includes Manley, Minto, Tanana and Rampart, since 1990, but biologists estimate the population between 1,000 and 2,000 moose. The average harvest in unit 20F is about 50 moose per year, Hollis said.

Unit 25C

taken each season in unit 25C, which includes the White Mountains and area east of the Steese Highway north of Fairbanks.

Units 12 and 20E The moose population in unit 12 near Tok remains stable, and hunters can expect to see similar success rate as the past couple of years, Tok area biologist Jeff Gross said. Moose numbers in southern unit 20E along the Taylor Highway have been increasing slowly and harvest has been doing the same, though Gross did not have harvest numbers or population data compiled.

Unit 13 The moose population and harvest in unit 13, which covers the Denali Highway and Nelchina Basin, has been climbing for the past several years, in part because of mild winters and efforts by aerial wolf hunters participating in the state’s predator control program. Last year’s moose population estimate for all of unit 13 was 18,910 moose, and hunters reported taking 922 moose, biologist Becky Schwanke in Glennallen said.

The last survey in unit 25C was in 2007, and biologists estimated the population at 3,020 moose, a density of just 0.6 Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at moose per square mile. There are about 100 bulls 459-7587.


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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

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Doug Harvey carries a kerosene heater with him as hunters brave the cold to wait in line outside the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in January 2009 for an any-moose registration hunting permit for the Minto Flats Management Area.

No more standing in line at 40 below for Minto Flats permits ADF&G changes moose hunt format By TIM MOWRY

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MINTO FLATS PERMITS The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will begin issuing registration permits for a winter antlerless moose hunt in the Minto Flats Management Area on Sept. 12 at the ADF&G office on College Road in Fairbanks. The hunt does not open until Oct. 15 and will close when the harvest quota is reached or Feb. 28, whichever comes first.

registration permits beginning Sept. 12 at the Fish and Game office on College Road in Fairbanks. The hunt will run from Oct. 15 to Feb. 28, or when the quota has been reached and the hunt is closed by emergency order. The change in the hunt format was proposed by the department and approved by the Alaska Board of Game in March. Local advisory committees from Fairbanks, Minto and Nenana approved of the change, biologist Tony Hollis said. “They were in favor of this strategy over standing in lines,” Hollis said. “Nobody likes standing in line.” Please see MINTO, Page 6

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Hunters will no longer have to camp out for days on end at 40 degrees below zero to get a permit for the Minto Flats winter moose hunt. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has rolled what used to be two “any moose” registration permit hunts for the Minto Flats Management Area in game management unit 20B into one winter hunt for antlerless moose. Rather than having a fall and winter hunt, the state is having one registration permit hunt for antlerless moose that starts Oct. 15. Neither will the department be issuing a limited number of permits for the hunts. In past years, the state issued a limited number of any-moose permits in Fairbanks, Minto and Nenana on a first-come, first-served basis, which created waiting lines outside all three permit distribution centers. Some hunters would camp out for up to four days at 40 below to get a permit. This year, the department will begin issuing an unlimited number of antlerless moose

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

Dall sheep faring well in Alaska and Brooks ranges Animal numbers generally increasing By TIM MOWRY Sheep hunters heading to the Alaska and Brooks ranges this season have reason to be optimistic. “The (sheep) numbers in both the Brooks and Alaska ranges are generally increasing; that’s the only part of the state we can say that at the moment,” said wildlife biologist Steve Arthur, who has been tracking the sheep populations in the Alaska and Brooks ranges the past few years. Biologists counted more than 900 sheep in a 350-square-mile area in the Alaska Range this year, he said.

“That number is getting pretty close to the maximum,” said Arthur, who works for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks. “Back in the late 1980s, we saw more than that, up over 1,000, but we haven’t seen anything close to that since 1990.” Sheep numbers in game management unit 20A in the Alaska Range have been climbing since 2003, he said. “We’ve had pretty good lamb recruitment throughout the 2000s,” Arthur said. “The winters have certainly been mild, and we haven’t had a lot of winter kill.” The population has been cycling throughout the past 20 years, he said. “They seem to peak every 10 years and then decline,” Arthur said. “This cycle has gone on a little longer than the previous two and increased by a higher Please see SHEEP, Page 7

MINTO Continued from Page 5

“I suspect the quota will be taken within a couple of weeks once people can get in there,” he said. The Oct. 15 start will allow the department to monitor the harvest and ensure that the harvest quota is not exceeded in the event more hunters than anticipated participate in the hunt. “We don’t know how many people are going to participate or what the weather is going to be like,” Fairbanks area biologist Don Young said. “With an Oct. 15 start, we feel like it’s going to be slow enough that we’ll be able to turn it off before we go over the quota.” Hunters who kill a moose will have to report it to the department within five days. Even if hunters do exceed the quota this year, it’s not that big a deal, Young said. “There’s 4,000 moose out there,” he said. “For one year (exceeding the quota) is not going to be a conservation concern.”

The department had yet to set a harvest quota for the hunt, but Hollis said it likely will be between 80 and 100 antlerless moose. The Oct. 15 start to the season will ensure that the harvest doesn’t go too quickly, Hollis said. Hunters will have to wait until rivers and lakes freeze and there is enough snow to travel on snowmachines to access the area, he said. “That early time frame will be tough for people,” Hollis said. “Normally, we don’t have snowfall in there that early. It will be a little while before people can get in there.” Hollis figures hunters won’t have good access into the area until Nov. 1, but once they can get in there, he expects quite a bit of interest from hunters who didn’t get a moose during the general Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587. hunting season.



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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

are faring.

By TIM MOWRY The Fortymile Caribou Herd is still the Interior’s largest herd, but not by much after a recent survey of the Nelchina Caribou Herd yielded a higherthan-anticipated count. Biologists weren’t able to do a photo census of the Fortymile herd this year, but the population is estimated to be 50,000 to 55,000 animals, said wildlife biologist Jeff Gross with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Tok. That estimate is based on a 2010 photo census, this spring’s calving rates and last winter’s mortality rates. The most recent count of the Nelchina herd in unit 13, meanwhile, produced a count of 46,500, which prompted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to issue an additional 2,425 drawing permits this hunting season in an attempt to reduce the population. Here’s a quick look at how Interior caribou herds

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Fortymile Herd This spring’s calving rates in the Fortymile were a “mixed bag,” Gross said. The calving rate for adult cows (4 years and older) was 86 percent while 3-year-old cows had a calving rate of 62 percent. The herd’s overall calving rate was 82 percent. “The 3-year-old calving rate is below the long-term average,” Gross said. “That’s something we’re still analyzing.” The 3-year-old calving rate is one of the parameters managers use to evaluate the nutritional health of the herd, he said. In past years, it’s been as high as 80 and 90 percent, Gross said. Winter mortality among calves and yearlings was higher than normal, but adult survival rates were normal, he said. Please see CARIBOU, Page 8

Continued from Page 6

level than the two previous peaks. I would expect them to stabilize at the level they’re at now based on what we’ve seen historically.” While there are a lot of sheep in the Alaska Range, there aren’t necessarily a plethora of legal rams. “We do look at the percent of full-curl rams, and of the rams that we saw, 11 percent of them were full curl or greater,” Arthur said. “That’s pretty low, but it’s consistent with an area being heavily hunted.” Last year, hunters reported taking 185 rams in unit 20A. That’s down considerably from a high harvest of 279 rams in 2009 but on par with the average harvest in the unit since 1993, Arthur said. In the eastern Brooks Range, specifically units 24A and 25A east of the Dalton Highway, the sheep harvest has increased dramatically in the past 10 years, a sign the population has rebounded from a crash in the early 1990s, Arthur said. “Both areas are up quite a bit from the early to mid1990s when we were seeing 30 to 40 sheep harvested in both areas,” he said. The harvest in unit 24A on the south side of the Brooks

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shown is the population has come up slightly in recent years,” he said. “Just because we have low lamb numbers in a single year, probably won’t result in much more than a blip on the screen down the road unless we have additional years with low lamb numbers.” The state dropped the number of drawing permits in the TMA last year from 100 to 80, but with only one year of harvest data, it’s too early to tell what kind of impact fewer hunters had, Gross said. In the Delta Controlled Use Area in unit 20D, this summer’s survey revealed a high number of rams of all ages, biologist Darren Bruning in Delta said. As in past years, the state issued 150 permits split between a walk-in and motorized hunt. The success rate is typically about 30 percent in each hunt. “I have no reason to believe it will be anything less significant than that,” Bruning said. “This success rate has held very steady for years.”

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Range has averaged 50 to 60 sheep the past five years, and the harvest in unit 25A on the north side was 122 sheep last year. While an increase in harvest might be the result of an increase in hunters in both areas, Arthur said the success rate also has been increasing, which is a sign there are more sheep. Sheep hunters who were lucky enough to draw a permit to hunt in the Tok Management Area in the eastern Alaska Range or the Delta Controlled Use Area also have reason to be hopeful. “We did see more 40-inch rams harvested last year than we’ve seen in a long time,” biologist Jeff Gross, with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Tok, said of harvest numbers in the Tok Management Area. While biologists saw a below-average number of lambs in this summer’s survey, which likely was associated with above-average snowfall last winter, the number and composition of adults was in line with what they’ve seen in recent years, Gross said. “What our surveys have

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Fortymile herd still biggest in the Interior



Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

Sam Harrel/ News-Miner file

Changes to Fortymile caribou hunt won’t affect too much By TIM MOWRY The state registration permit hunt for Fortymile caribou will have a different look this year, but most hunters won’t see much of a difference. The harvest quota for the hunt is still 1,000 caribou — 750 for the fall hunt and 250 for the winter hunt. The season dates are the same. The season will open Aug. 10 in remote areas and Aug. 29 in road-accessible areas, such as along the Steese and Taylor highways. The bag limit is the same — one bull caribou in the fall hunt for resident and non-resident hunters and one caribou of either sex in the winter hunt,














1,057 26










which is open only to resident hunters. “The majority of hunters can expect what they’ve seen the last couple years,” said area biologist Jeff Gross with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game

in Tok. The only real change in this year’s hunt is that the state has rolled the Fortymile hunt in with the White Mountains caribou hunt and created a fourth hunting zone. The new zone, appropriately named Zone 4, consists of portions of units 20B, 20F and 25C. It is basically north and west of the Steese Highway and east and north of the Elliott and Dalton highways. Both the Fortymile and White Mountains hunts will be run under the same permits — RC860 in the fall and RC867 in the winter. The reason Zone 4 was created was to accommodate a growing Fortymile herd, which is estimated at 50,000 to 55,000 animals. Please see FORTYMILE, Page 9


Biologists counted more than 46,500 caribou on the calving grounds in late June, an increase of more than 6,000 over last year’s herd estimate of 40,233, said area biologist Becky Schwanke in Glennallen. She attributed the spike in the herd’s population this year to a poor count last year and higher than anticipated winter survival, despite higher-thannormal snow depths in portions of the herd’s range. The herd’s range appears to be holding up despite the herd’s growth, and the range has benefited from lots of rain this year, Schwanke said. “We feel like the range is in good enough shape we can spend a little time to get the herd down,” she said.

in unit 20D near Delta may have stopped growing after doubling in the past decade, but the population still is probably between 1,500 and 1,800 animals, area wildlife biologist Darren Bruning in Delta said. The harvest quota for this year’s hunt is 70 bulls, and last year’s harvest was 73. The bulk of the harvest came in the final two days of the hunt when motorized vehicles were allowed anywhere except the Macomb Controlled Use Area. The remainder of the season — Aug. 10-25 — it is a walkin-only hunt. “It’s a nice caribou hunt,” Bruning said. “It’s a large area to hunt in with lots of access for walking in.” Hunters using motorized vehicles have success in the final two days of the hunt, though there is talk of revisiting the structure of the hunt regarding motorized vehicles, Bruning said. “There’s relatively good trail access into McCumber Creek and Jarvis Creek,” he said. “If you look around in there, you’re going to find caribou.”

Macomb herd

Delta herd

Continued from Page 7

“We’re not anticipating the models are going to say the herd has really grown much,” Gross said.

Nelchina herd

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Kenny Haskins, right, of North Pole and Michael Rego, of Moose Creek, haul their caribou to their truck near Circle Hot Springs. The two, along with Robert Wyble, of Fairbanks, were taking part in the Fortymile Caribou Winter Registration Permit Hunt in December 2006.

The Macomb Caribou Herd

2,000 to 3,000 animals and the population is stable, according to Fairbanks area biologist Don Young. “We haven’t detected any real increases in numbers down there,” he said. “It looks like we still have a good proportion of trophy bulls in that population.” The hunt is a drawingpermit-only hunt and access is almost entirely fly in. The state issued 150 drawing permits this season. The harvest has come up noticeably in the last few years, Young said. “It was in the 30s, but in the last three or four years, it’s been averaging in the 50s,” he said. “I speculate a lot of that has to do with fewer permits going unused.”

White Mountains herd No census was conducted this year, but the herd, located in unit 25C, is estimated at 600 to 700 animals. The population has been stable for the past several years, Young said. Hunting is by registration permit in the fall and winter, and the average harvest is 30 to 40 caribou per year. Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at

The herd is estimated at 459-7587.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

FORTYMILE Continued from Page 8

The herd has been expanding its range, and the White Mountains was part of its historical range years ago. The White Mountains Caribou Herd is estimated at 600 to 700 animals with an annual harvest of 30 to 40 caribou. “As the (Fortymile) herd continues to expand its range, it’s possible we could see more use of the White Mountains,” Gross said. “That was the purpose of developing Zone 4 and

extending the hunt into the White Mountains.” The department still will manage the two herds as separate herds until at some point biologists can’t differentiate between the two, Gross said. The creation of Zone 4 did create a slight boundary change in Zone 1, Gross noted. Zone 1 now includes all of the Chatanika River drainage. The boundary used to be south of the Chatanika, but managers moved the border to include the entire Chatanika drainage so everything along the Steese Highway was in Zone 1. “That way, we can manage

Zone 4 more as a remote hunting zone,” Gross said. None of Zone 4 borders the Steese Highway, and it will be managed similarly to Zone 2, the roadless area sandwiched between Zones 1 (Steese Highway) and 3 (Taylor Highway). The season in Zones 2 and 4 will open Aug. 10, while the season in Zones 1 and 3 will open Aug. 29. The harvest quotas for this year’s hunt will be the same as last year, with 45 percent of the fall quota (340) going to Zone 3 (Taylor Highway); Please see FORTYMILE, Page 10

FORTYMILE CARIBOU HUNT • Season dates: Fall hunt opens Aug. 10 in roadless portion and Aug. 29 along the Steese and Taylor highways. Season closes Sept. 20 for non-residents and Sept. 30 for residents. Winter hunt open Dec. 1 to March 31 or when the harvest quota is reached. • Harvest quotas: 750 bulls for fall hunt split into three areas — Zone 1 and 4 (Steese Highway/White Mountains), 225; Zone 2 (roadless area), 185; Zone 3 (Taylor Highway), 340. Winter quota is 250 caribou, either sex, split between Steese and Taylor highways with highest percentage going to where most caribou are located. • Permits: Available online at http://hunt.alaska or at Department of Fish and Game offices in Fairbanks, Delta, Tok, Douglas, Anchorage and Palmer. Permits also are available in Eagle at the Eagle Trading Post, in Tok at the Bull Shooter and in Central at Central Corner. • Hotline: Hunters should call the Fortymile caribou hunting hotline at 267-2310 before heading into the field to check on closures or restrictions.

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

More grouse on roads mean more grouse in woods By TIM MOWRY While many grouse hunters take to the woods and trails when the season opens Aug. 10, Jim McCann prefers to wait until after Sept. 20. “There’s no moose hunters in the woods after about the 20th,” McCann, said author of

“Upland Hunting In Alaska.” “It’s less crowded.” That’s not the only reason McCann, as avid a grouse hunter as you will find, waits to begin stalking his favorite quarry — the ruffed grouse. “I like to wait until late September,” he said. “That’s my favorite time. The leaves are off the trees. The birds are

NOTICE TO ALL HUNTERS: Please respect our lands as we would respect yours.

smarter, fully grown and more challenging.” Based on what he’s been seeing this summer, McCann is looking forward to a good bird hunting season this fall. The population should be climbing back up after bottoming out a couple years ago, and chick survival should have been good this spring, he said. “It was a good, warm spring, and we had enough rain that it made for a lot of insect life and plant life,” McCann said. “Insects are of vital importance to chicks.” While he hadn’t yet done much scouting in the woods, McCann said he’s seen enough

grouse along the roadsides to indicate this season will be better than last year. “I think it’s going to be a really good season,” he said. “I’ve been seeing a lot of grouse out along the roads. “I’ve been seeing more ruffed grouse than in previous years in places I wouldn’t normally see them,” McCann added. “They’re showing up in places they don’t normally appear, which is a good sign to me.” McCann also said he’s been seeing fewer snowshoe hares around this summer, which should mean fewer predators for grouse like goshawks, foxes

and owls. “If there’s rabbits the predators eat the rabbits and multiply,” he said. Another reason to wait until later in the fall to start grouse hunting is to allow broods to split up, McCann said. Young birds start dispersing from broods in mid-September, which reduces the chances of eliminating entire family groups. “If you kill most of the birds out of the family it’s going to take a long time to replace that family,” he said. “It’s just like fish. You don’t take them all out of one hole.” Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.

Eric Engman/News-Miner file

A spruce grouse takes flight from a spruce tree in the Isberg Recreation Area.

FORTYMILE Continued from Page 9

K’oyitl’ots’ina, Limited has enacted a RESTRICTED HUNTING POLICY on its Corporation’s privately-held lands. The shaded areas around the Interior villages of Alatna, Allakaket, Hughes and Huslia are closed to all sports hunting. Rights are granted to K’oyitl’ots’ina, Ltd. shareholders, their descendants and other local subsistence users. For subsistence access by non-Native local rural residents, you must obtain a permit for sale at our Corporation’s Fairbanks’ office. 12399868-8-10-12HE

Contact: K’oyitl’ots’ina, Ltd. Land Manager 1603 College Road • Fairbanks, AK 99709 907-452-8119

30 percent (225) going to Zone 1 (Steese Highway); and 25 percent (185) going to Zone 2 (roadless area). Zone 4 won’t have a separate harvest quota. Instead, any harvest in Zone 4 will come out of the Zone 1 harvest quota. Gross doesn’t expect much harvest in Zone 4. Only a few animals have moved into that area during the fall hunt the past few years, he said. “In the fall, they really haven’t moved up into Zone 4 in great numbers,” Gross said. “For the most part, I don’t see a lot of additional opportunities for ATV and highway hunters in Zone 4. Mainly, it’s going to continue to be a remote fly-in or walk-in type of opportunity.” As for the White Mountains Herd, Gross

said managers will be watching closely to prevent any possible overharvest caused by movements of the Fortymile herd. If the herd does move into Zone 4 in any significant numbers, it could attract more hunters to the area. “That could generate higher harvest rates than we’ve seen in the White Mountains before,” Gross said. “We want to make sure if that occurs the harvest is made up of Fortymile animals and not the White Mountains herd. “We’ll monitor hunt patterns to make sure we close the Fortymile hunt (in Zone 4) if we have any concerns about the White Mountains herd,” he said. Other changes in the Fortymile hunt of which hunters should be aware are: • Proxy hunting is no longer allowed anywhere in the state Fortymile hunt area. • The end of the winter hunt is now officially March 31, not Feb. 28. Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

Delta bison harvest continues to drop By TIM MOWRY Imagine winning a permit to hunt the Delta bison herd, the most coveted hunting permit in Alaska, only to shoot the wrong sex bison when the chance presented itself. Not only does the hunter face a fine, he or she also has to forfeit all that tasty bison meat to the state. It happens every year, and last year, it happened more than it has in the past two or three decades, said wildlife biologist Darren Bruning at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Delta. Seven of the 56

hunters who killed a bison last year were cited for shooting the wrong sex animal. “I feel for people when that happens,” Bruning said. Bruning suspects one of the reasons for the high number of misidentified bison taken in last year’s hunt is that the state offered an online orientation class last year for the first time and most hunters opted for that rather than live version of the class offered at the Department of Fish and Game in Delta. “I encourage bison hunters to attend our in-person orientation in Delta Junction,” Bruning said. “There’s no doubt they get

more out of that (than the online class).” So if you were one of the lucky 75 hunters who drew a permit to hunt the Delta bison herd this winter, do yourself a favor and attend the orientation class in person rather than doing so by sitting in front of a computer. At about 350 animals before the spring calving season, the Delta bison herd is the biggest and most accessible bison herd in the state. Each year, about 20,000 hunters apply for permits to hunt the herd, and a handful — 75 this year — are handed out.

























Please see BISON, Page 12

13399548 8-10-12HE


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

BISON Continued from Page 11

become biased where they should look for bison and overlook some areas where they could find bison,” he said. “ I think they concentrate on specific areas and overlook other hunting grounds available to them.” One of those areas is on U.S. Army land in the Donnelly Training Area. While hunters must obtain a special permit to hunt on Army land, it might be worth doing so, Bruning said. One factor Bruning thinks could have played a role in the lower harvest last season was the cold weather in January. “It was a very cold winter,” he said, referring to what ranked as the coldest January on record in more than 100 years in Fairbanks. “We had pretty significant periods of time when there wasn’t anybody hunting.”

Last year’s Delta bison harvest — 56 — was the lowest in six years, and the success rate — 58 percent — was under 60 percent for the second year in a row. Bruning attributes the declining success rate — it used to be 80 to 90 percent a decade ago — to a couple of factors. One is that the bison are getting more educated, he said. The animals have figured out what hunters are up to and have altered their behavior accordingly, Bruning said. “They’re foraging more in the dark when people aren’t out,” he said. Another factor, Bruning speculates, is that hunters aren’t broadening their horiContact staff writer Tim Mowry zons when looking for bison. “I think hunters tend to at 459-7587.

Tim Mowry/News-Miner

Caribou from the Nelchina Caribou Herd graze along the Parks Highway just south of Cantwell in mid-May.

Bigger herd size means more permits to hunt Nelchina caribou ADF&G issues 2,425 more drawing permits



The 50-mile road that was built to access Pogo Gold Mine was authorized and completed under State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources permitting processes - Mine Permit # ADL416949. Under this permit, the Pogo Mine Access Road and Pogo Mine property is restricted to all public access. The DNR permit further stipulates that use of the road for hunting and/or transportation of hunters or hunting equipment is expressly prohibited.


Pogo Mine wishes to respectfully remind interior hunters that the Pogo Mine Access Road was constructed for the sole use of industrial mine traffic, and that the presence of persons, automobiles, four-wheelers, or any other conveyances used in support of hunting activities shall constitute an act of Criminal Trespass under Alaska Statute 11.46.330(a)(1). While boat traffic on the Goodpaster River is not specifically restricted, hunters may not exit their watercraft onto Pogo Mine property.

If you applied for but didn’t win a drawing permit to hunt the Nelchina Caribou Herd this fall you may be in luck. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is issuing an additional 2,425 drawing permits to hunt the Nelchina herd after a higher-than-expected count during a summer survey. Biologists counted more than 46,500 caribou on the calving grounds in late June, an increase of more than 6,000 over last year’s herd estimate of 40,233, said area biologist Becky Schwanke in Glennallen, who manages the herd. As a result of the higher count, the harvest quota for this year’s hunt was bumped

GROWING PAINS Here are the population estimates for the Nelchina Caribou Herd for the past five years. The state’s herd management objective is 35,000 to 40,000. 2012 — 46,500 2011 — 40,233 2010 — 44,330 2009 — 33,837 2008 — no count

up from 3,400 to 5,500 — 1,500 cows and 4,000 bulls — in an attempt to bring it within the department’s population objective of 35,000 to 40,000. “We need to curb the herd’s growth by bringing in additional hunters this year to avoid long-term damage to the herd’s range,” Schwanke said. The additional permits were issued to hunters who applied for but didn’t receive a permit during the original November/ December application period last year. The permits were drawn randomly, and a list

of winners was posted on the department’s website (www. Permits were mailed to successful applicants last week. The drawing hunt season begins Aug. 20 with a bag limit of one bull. The department already had issued more than 5,400 eithersex Tier I subsistence permits and 575 bull-only drawing permits for the Nelchina hunt. That’s in addition to about 2,500 federal permits, Schwanke said. The department’s projected harvest of 3,400 caribou fell far short of the 5,500 harvest quota established for this year’s hunt following the survey so more permits were issued. “We try to maximize our harvest every year based on what we have,” Schwanke said. “We’re hoping our caribou cooperate and we have high success on all our permits, subsistence and drawing. Please see NELCHINA, Page 13


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

A guide to hunter etiquette on the Dalton Highway Staff Report Tourists aren’t the only ones who drive up the Dalton Highway looking for adventure. More and more hunters have been make the trip north to look for caribou and sheep in recent years. The presence of the Central Arctic Caribou Herd along the highway between Coldfoot and Deadhorse attracts hordes of hunters each fall and spring.

“It is one of the few areas in the state where people can drive and find caribou without going through a registration permit hunt and/or a drawing permit hunt,” said Lisa Shon Jodwalis, an interpretive park ranger for the Bureau of Land Management who spent seven summers from 2001-08 working at the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot. “Because there’s

Staff Report

Continued from Page 12

Even with the added permits, it’s doubtful hunters will bring the herd within the population objective this season. “We hope to be able to allow increased opportunity to harvest caribou from this herd over the next couple years,” Schwanke said. In addition to the increased number of permits, the four


With a hunter-friendly bag limit of five caribou, easy access and an early season, the Central Arctic Caribou Herd represents a prime opportunity for hunters willing to make the 400- to 500mile drive north on the Dalton Highway, especially bowhunters. The season opens July 1, and only bowhunting is allowed for five miles on each side of the Dalton Highway, also known as the Dalton Highway Corridor Management Area, providing qualified archers with ultraeasy access, while rifle hunters must walk, boat or fly outside the corridor to hunt. All types of hunters have good success, said biologist Beth Lenart at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Last year, there were about 1,200 hunters, and they bagged approximately 1,000 caribou, she said. “A lot of it has to do with caribou distribution,” Lenart said in late July. “There’s a lot Contact of caribou right now pretty far 459-7572.




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mean more hunters competing for caribou this year,” she said. “I just hope hunters maintain solid ethics while they’re out there and try to respect other hunters.” Contact outdoors editor Tim Mowry at 459-7587.

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to the east of the road. “I’ve seen years where caribou were east of the road and when they start their southern migration they do this little jog west and cross the road and then start their southern migration.” As of press time, ADF&G hadn’t been able to get a photo census of the Central Arctic herd in units 25A and 26B of the Brooks Range this summer, but Lenart suspects it’s still growing slightly. The last census in 2010 estimated the herd at 70,000 animals. The herd size has doubled in the past decade. “I think it might be starting to level out,” she said. One thing Central Arctic herd hunters need to be aware of is that there is now a meaton-the bone requirement in unit 25, Lenart said. “If you’re caribou hunting in unit 25, you have to leave the meat on the bone,” she said. “A lot of those airplane hunters don’t do that.”




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Please see DALTON, Page 16

The Central Arctic Caribou Herd offers plenty of opportunity

hunt areas previously established for this year’s hunt will be merged. All unit 13 caribou drawing permits will be good for all of unit 13 for the upcoming hunting season. The original drawing permit winners will receive new permits in the mail that will clearly state the new hunt boundaries. The increase in permits means there will be more hunters in the field, Schwanke said. “While increased harvest opportunity is a plus, it will



Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

Deadline for drawing, subsistence permit applications changed No more paper applications will be accepted By TIM MOWRY

tions, although we will provide a help function for those people who can’t make an application online,” he said. “We’ll provide a phone number they can call and we can provide assistance.” The department still is trying to iron out a few wrinkles in the all-online application process, such as how to assist people who need help and how collect payment from people who apply over the phone, Rabe said. The state announced two years ago that it would be switching to an all-online application process for drawing and subsistence permits and gave people a chance to comment on the change, Rabe said. It was as a result of public comment that the department was encouraged to provide assistance to those who might have difficulty filing an electronic application, he said. Currently, about 95 percent of hunters apply online, Rabe said. On average, 15,000 to 17,000 people apply for the permits and each applicant puts in for an average of five hunts, which translates to about 75,000 individual applications. Under the old system, paper applications had to be postmarked by Dec. 15 and the department had to wait two weeks to provide ample time for mail to be delivered to ensure all applications were received. There was also the hassle of dealing with checks in the mail, some of which bounced, Rabe said. The earlier deadline should allow the department to announce winners earlier, he said. This past year, winners were announced on Feb. 20. “The intent is to move to an earlier announcement,” Rabe said. “Our goal would be to get it as close to Feb. 1 as possible.” This year, the department plans to announce permit winners sometime in mid-February, he said.

Hunters planning to apply for drawing and subsistence hunting permits this winter should mark 5 p.m. Dec. 15 on their calendars. That’s the new date and time the Alaska Department of Fish of Game will be using as the deadline to apply for drawing and subsistence hunting periods starting this winter. The previous deadline was 5 p.m. Dec. 31. The application period begins Nov. 1. Deputy director Dale Rabe said the department had problems maintaining software systems and finding adequate staffing on New Year’s Eve to accommodate the crush of lastminute applications so the state decided to pick an earlier deadline date. “To avoid holidays and have normal staffing available to help customers at the last minute, we have moved it to Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. unless it falls on a weekend and then it will be the following Monday at 5 p.m.,” Rabe said. Since Dec. 15 falls on a Saturday this year, the actual deadline will be 5 p.m. Dec. 17, he said. The department chose Dec. 15 in hopes that the date would stick in the minds of hunters similar to the April 15 deadline for taxes, Rabe said. “We wanted to be outside the holiday period, but we wanted something that would stick in the minds of hunters so we went with the 15th,” he said. Starting this year, the department also will no longer accept paper applications. The entire application process will be online, Rabe said. “This year, we’re only going Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at to be taking electronic applica- 459-7587.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

Army still finalizing military land training plans Hunters should have back-up plan

Yukon Training Area

Gerstle River Training Area

Black Rapids Training Area

Tanana Flats Training Area

Donnelly Training Area

Hunters on Army lands are required to register for a Recreational Access Pass and check into the U. S. Army Alaska Recreation Tracking System (USARTRAK) system for updates about the opening/ closing of training areas for recreational use. The number is 353-3181 for the Fairbanks Area; 873-3181 for Fort Greely; Fort Wainwright main post must dial 1-907-353-3181 or call 1-877-7058725 outside these areas. Registration for RAPS can be done at the main gate visitors’ centers at

Ivotuk Airstrip

Fort Wainwright and Fort Greely (closed on weekends). You also may obtain a RAP card and check into training areas by going to the USARTRAK website: Fort Wainwright and Fort Greely RAP holders who have problems checking in may call the environmental office at 361-9686. Before accessing lands withdrawn for military training, hunters and all recreational users must call in to the USARTRAK. The system provides Army conservation officials information concerning the location of people within the training areas and assists with range-clearing efforts before live-fire activities.

Elusive Lake

Killik Airstrip

NOTICE TO AIRMEN, GUIDES, OUTFITTERS, RAFTERS & SPORT HUNTERS Large tracts of land on the Western and Central North Slope are owned by the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC). Entry on these privately owned lands requires the consent of ASRC. Sport hunting and fishing are prohibited on ASRC lands. Within ASRC lands in the Central and Western Arctic are a number of gravel airstrips that are closed to public access. Entry on the following airstrips requires the written consent of ASRC: AKULIK 69°00’02”N 163°26’33”W; EAGLE CREEK 68°40’46”N 162°39’13”W; KILLIK 68°27’15”N 154°17’43”W; TIGLIKPUK 68°25’25”N 151°27’26”W; TULUGAK 68°59’36”N 151°11’42”W; *IVOTUK* 68°28’42”N 155°45’50”W; Airstrip is public but please be aware of ASRC’s ownership of apron, road, and drill site. These airstrips are subject to periodic surveillance by ASRC. Trespassers will be prosecuted. Certain easements are reserved for the public in various locations on ASRC lands. These easements are owned by ASRC and are reserved for public use for limited specific purposes. These easements are reserved to allow access to lakes by float plane, temporary overnight camping at specific 1 acre sites near the lake shores (not to exceed 24 hours), and to allow for trail access to adjacent public lands. Some specific areas that require the proper following of easements are: Elusive Lake, Shainin Lake, Chandler Lake, Udurivik Lake, Imiaknikpak Lake, and Windy Lake. Any deviation from easement stipulations will be considered trespass and is criminally punishable under Alaska Statute11.46.330. Sport hunting and fishing are not allowed on these easements. You are highly encouraged to contact ASRC if you are planning a float trip on the Kukpowruk, Kokolik, Utukok, Okokmilaga, Chandler, Anaktuvuk, Kurupa, Killik, or Colville Rivers. Each of these waterways have unique circumstances or restrictions that must be followed to prevent trespass. In addition, North Slope Borough, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and/or National Park Service permits may also be required for commercially operating on adjacent public lands. It is your responsibility to obtain the proper permissions and permits to access these areas. For more information contact: Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Land Department Ivotuk Hills Tulugak Airstrip 3900 C Street, Suite 801 Anchorage, AK 99503-5963 907 339-6017


tremendous amount of ground training in the DTA but air requirements have yet to be Less Army land will be open confirmed. to hunting this season as units from Fort Wainwright that recently returned from Afghanistan will be training for future The 265,000-acre Yukon deployments. Training Area is in unit 20B. The Army expects to open Units will conduct crew gun“at least” 70 percent of its nery tasks in the Multipurpose training lands to hunters and Range Area, (training areas other recreation users during 307, 308, 309, 310) and aviation September. That’s down from gunnery tasks in the vicinity about 90 percent last year when of TAs 312, 313, 315. Training the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat dates have yet to be confirmed, Team, 25th Infantry Division and there could be access chalwas deployed in Afghanistan. lenges for hunters. Units still are locking in training schedules, and hunters who have plans to hunt on military land should have a back-up plan in the event of a This 20,792-acre trainlast-minute air or land closure, Army spokeswoman Linda Dou- ing area is located in unit 20D and has not seen much trainglass said. Units at Fort Wainwright will ing activity due to deployment utilize the ranges in the Yukon cycles. Users can expect use of Training Area, Donnelly Train- this area to pick up as units ing Area East, Donnelly Train- ramp up for future deployments ing Area West and the Tanana as all Army brigades, Red Flag, Flats Training Area frequently Air Guard, Army Guard and the throughout September. The Air Air Force all compete for trainForce also will conduct training ing space. that requires use of the impact areas in the Yukon Training Area and Donnelly Training Area West during September. The Donnelly and Yukon TrainThis 2,774-acre training is ing Areas are likely to be the in unit 20D and 13B. There sites of extensive training this will be closures due to training year. in this area during the hunting Here’s a rundown of what season, however dates had not will be open and closed in each been confirmed at press time. training area. Army lands withdrawn for military training are outlined with dotted black lines in the 2011-2012 state hunting regulation booklet. To further define Fort Wainwright’s Tanana the numbered training areas Flats Training Area is in game within TFTA, DTA and YTA, management unit 20A. Most of the Army has published color this area, about 652,000 acres, maps. These maps complement will be open for hunting except the ADF&G maps by depictfor the two impact areas. ing impact areas and off-limits areas and by color coding the availability of hunting in each numbered training area. The maps are available at This 654,000-acre area is the visitors’ centers near the divided into DTA East and DTA main gates of Fort Wainwright West. DTA East is in unit 20D and Fort Greely. By Aug. 15, the and DTA West is in unit 20A. The Army does not expect a Please see MILITARY, Page 17 Staff Report



Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

DALTON Continued from Page 13

restrictions on motorized vehicles five miles on each side of the road, you can have a wilderness hunt essentially right off the highway.” And when hunters driving up the Haul Road spot a bunch of — or even one — caribou, they do the same thing that tourists do — stop in the middle of the road to check it out. That can be a problem if there’s a tractor-trailer barreling down the road at 65 mph. “It’s not just inconvenient, it’s dangerous, especially if it’s muddy or icy,” Jodwalis said. Al Geuttinger, terminal manager for Alaska West Express in Fairbanks, said he understands how hunters get excited when they spot animals from the road but they need to remember they are sharing the road with rigs that are much bigger than the pickup trucks they are driving. “Hunters up there are in a unique environment,” he said. “They see something and they want to stop in the middle of the road to get a better look at it. “We see people stopping on corners, on bridges ... all sorts of crazy stuff,” Guettinger said.

Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management

A hunter leaves his truck and partner on a narrow bridge over Roche Moutonnee Creek. Hunters are urged not to stop in the middle of the road or on blind corners when traveling the Dalton Highway. While the 450-mile Dalton is in much better condition now than it was 10 or 20 yeas ago, it’s still a primitive road with few services that are spread out over long miles, Jodwalis said. The Dalton is also a major route for truckers driving to and from the North Slope oil fields, and hunters will encounter dozens of tractor-trailers on their drive to and from the

Brooks Range. In an effort to make things safer — and cleaner — for everyone involved, Jodwalis and Guettinger came up with a list of suggestions for hunters thinking about heading up the Haul Road this fall.

corners. Pick safe locations with good visibility to stop and pull far enough off the road so as not to impede oncoming traffic. • Use a CB radio. If Geuttinger has one suggestion for hunters planning to head up the Dalton Highway, it’s to get a CB radio and • Don’t stop in the mid- tune in to Channel 19. “At least that way they have dle of the road or on blind

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an idea of what’s going on,” he said. “You get an idea of where everybody’s at. A lot of times, hazards on the road are being broadcast over the radio. It lets them know what’s going on in their environment.” • Drive with your lights on and keep them clean. Dust and darkness can decrease visibility. • Slow down when you see oncoming traffic. Most of the time, if you slow down for them they’ll slow down for you, Geuttinger said. If you don’t, chances are they won’t and rocks will fly. • Stay on your own side of the road on corners. This is pretty much true anywhere even more so on the Dalton where 18-wheelers are barreling down the road at 65 mph. • Stay on the road. Motorized vehicles, including four-wheelers and snowmachines, are not allowed within five miles of the highway. Also, motorized access is not allowed on roads to private mining operations (in addition to state restrictions). • Be prepared. There are no medical facilities on the road and cellphone coverage and public Internet connections are available only in Deadhorse. Please see DALTON, Page 17

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

DALTON Continued from Page 16

Hunting tips • Don’t dispose of gut piles in BLM trash containers. It’s gross and unnecessary. BLM has only one seasonal laborer to make the run up and down the highway emptying trash containers at waysides and putting animal innards in the trash bins makes the bags incredibly heavy and stinky, Jodwalis said. Doing so also has the potential to attract

other animals to the garbage bins, such as foxes and bears. • Clean your kill away from the road. Not only does this make things cleaner and safer for everyone involved, it makes things lighter for the hunter hauling out a caribou. It’s also illegal to leave gut piles next to the road, and hunters can be cited for doing so. • Bring a GPS. Only bow hunting is allowed within five miles of the highway so you need to know where you are if you’re a rifle hunter.

Camping tips • Watch where you camp. Remember, there is no camping allowed in the Toolik Lake Research Natural Area between 278 Mile and 293 Mile. This includes the lakeshore, old airstrip and access road. There is fee camping allowed at Galbraith Lake at 275 Mile. • Keep a clean camp. If hunters do leave their camps to search for caribou, food and trash should be enclosed in their vehicles or in some kind of sturdy contain-

ers to keep other animals out. • If trash bins are full, backhaul your trash. Don’t pile it on the ground outside the trash bins. Take it to Deadhorse or bring it back to town to dispose of. “Even when you have somebody picking up trash every other day, they can get full pretty quickly,” Jodwalis said. • Don’t dump RV wastewater on the ground. There is a free dump station at 60 Mile (5 miles north of the Yukon River).

MILITARY Continued from Page 15

Army also will publish the maps on the web at: and at All impact areas are off limits because they contain unexploded ordnance. These areas are depicted on Alaska Department of Fish and Game maps as restricted areas. The Army will issue news releases and update websites as more information becomes available on what areas will be open to hunting. Contact the newsroom at 459-7572.

13399551 8-10-12HE


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

You can’t complain if you don’t participate By TIM MOWRY


Up until about five years ago, Larry Dalrymple could The Fairbanks Fish and count on one hand the number Game Advisory Commitof times he had visited the tee generally meets on the Alaska Department of Fish and second Wednesday of each Game offices on College Road, month from October to May. even though he had been huntMeetings this season will ing and fishing in Alaska for be held at the Alpine Lodge more than 30 years. beginning at 7 p.m. For more “I’d hunted and fished up information about the comhere my whole life, and I’d mittee, call Nissa Pilcher at only been to over there once the Department of Fish and or twice to pick up a permit,” Game at 459-7263 or email he said. her at nissa.pilcher@alaska. That changed when Dalgov. rymple was elected to the Fairbanks Fish and Game Advisory gists that work there. Committee five years ago. “I personally spend 10 to These days, Dalrymple spends almost as much time at 15 hours a month researchSam Harrel/News-Miner file ADF&G as the wildlife biolo- ing stuff that gets sent to me, Don Young, Fairbanks area biologist with the Department of Fish and Game, presents

the department’s intensive management program for moose in game management unit 20A to a standing-room-only crowd in January. More than 225 people filled the room and spilled out into the lobby of Pikes Waterfront Lodge for a meeting of the Fairbanks Fish and Game Advisory Committee.



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emailing stuff to people, talking to biologists,” Dalrymple said. It was the controversial cow moose hunts in Game Management Unit 20A south of Fairbanks that prompted the recently retired Dalrymple to get involved a few years ago. Dalrymple, who hunts in unit 20A, was concerned about the state’s large-scale antlerless moose hunt in unit 20A. “I was very interested in what they were doing so I went to a couple of advisory committee meetings,” Dalrymple said. That interest parlayed into a seat on the 15-person committee, and Dalrymple has been immersed in local fish and game issues ever since. Dalrymple is serving his second three-year term on the Fairbanks committee. “It has been a real education to me, especially with the biology that takes place with moose in unit 20A and throughout the state,” he said. “I had no idea this herd was the most studied herd in Alaska and what was going behind the decisions they were making.” Now that he knows more,

Dalrymple tries to inform friends and fellow hunters what’s going on and get them involved in the process. He encourages anyone he talks to attend advisory committee meetings, which are open to the public. “I believe you can really make a difference if you get involved,” Dalrymple said. “It really can change what happens with the management of the resource.” The unit 20A moose controversy was a perfect example. Enough hunters protested the large-scale cow moose hunts that the Department of Fish and Game held a series of moose management workshops to educate people what the agency was doing and why. “I like to think because of my involvement that I’ve helped temper the decisions and judgements friends have made,” he said. There are more than 80 fish and game advisory committees in communities around the state, including in Fairbanks, Delta, Minto, Nenana and Healy. The committees offer feedback to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on hunting and fishing regulations in their respective communities. The 15-person Fairbanks Fish

and Game Advisory Committee meets on the second Wednesday of each month from October through May. Advisory committees do wield considerable power in Alaska’s regulatory system. The Department of Fish and Game and Alaska Board of Game rely on input from advisory committees in formulating regulatory proposals regarding bag limits, seasons and restrictions for hunts. The department cannot adopt cow moose hunts without the support of local advisory committees. “The advisory committee system is very integral to how the department does business in wildlife,” said David James, regional director for the Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks. “They’re one of the main touchstones for dealing with the public.” When it comes to getting involved, most hunters are no different from the average person, said retired wildlife biologist Dick Bishop, an active member of the Alaska Outdoor Council and a regular at Alaska Board of Game and advisory committee meetings. Please see ADVISORY, Page 19

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

ADVISORY Continued from Page 18

“Most people don’t get interested unless something hits them between the eyeballs,” Bishop said. Attending local advisory committee meetings is a good place to start, he said. “Even if you get on the mailing list so you can keep track of the issues, at least you’ll know what’s coming up and if you see something coming up that you want to get in on, you can be aware of it,” Bishop said. “If you don’t participate, you have no or little influ-

ence in what happens.” Fairbanks advisory committee mem“If you don’t particiber Virgil Umphenour, who also holds a seat on the federal Eastern Interior Regional Advisory Council and is a pate, you have no or former member of the Alaska Board of Fisheries, has been on the committee little influence in what for nine years. “The way I look at it, and the rea- happens.” son I’ve been involved in hunting and fishing politics for so long, is because — Dick Bishop, Alaska Outdoor Council I care about how our fish and wildlife are managed,” he said. “You don’t have to serve on the committee, but you should go to the meetings and participate if you’re con“I have a vested interest being a cerned about how hunting and fishing guide but not many guides go to the is managed. meetings either unless they’ve got a


bone to pick or they feel threatened,” he said. The Fairbanks advisory committee is one of the most active in the state, Umphenour said. Wildlife biologist Don Young with the Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks would like to see more people attend advisory committee meetings. It’s easier dealing with an informed public than it is trying to educate the public, he said. “A lot of times what happens is nobody comes to the meetings and advisory committee members are forced to make decisions without knowing what the majority of the public thinks,” he said.

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

No sign of chronic wasting disease in state State bans use of deer, elk urine to keep it that way By RILEY WOODFORD Alaska Department of Fish and Game When deer hunting season opens in Alaska this month, hunters will no longer be able to use any scent attractants that contain deer or elk urine. Hunters sometimes use urine-based scents to attract deer or to mask human scent. It is sold in hunting supply stores and through online catalogues. Most contain urine from domestic deer, often does in estrus. Deer and elk urine is one possible route into Alaska for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a degenerative, fatal illness that affects deer, moose and elk. The disease has not been found in Alaska, and wildlife managers are working to keep it out. “People were using doe urine as a lure in Southeast Alaska, and research has come out showing urine could transmit CWD,” said Kimberlee Beckmen, a veterinarian with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks. “Most urine is produced on game farms, some in states where they have CWD, and there are no regulations or standards in place to ensure that scents are disease free. This is a way to completely eliminate that risk factor.” The urine is collected over

Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Fish & Game/Kim Titus

This photo shows a Sitka black-tailed deer. Chronic wasting disease is a degenerative, fatal illness that affects deer, moose and elk. The disease has not been found in Alaska, and wildlife managers are working to keep it out. grate systems, which allow processed to kill any infectious contamination from feces and diseases — and any treatment saliva. The products are not with chemicals or heat that could effectively disinfect the product would destroy the scent characteristics. The Department of Fish and Game Alaska submitted a proposal to prohibit the use of deer and elk urine for use in taking game at the statewide Board of Game meeting in Anchorage this winter. The proposal was supported by citizen advisory committees across the state, including those in areas where deer hunting is popular — Upper Lynn Canal, Sitka and Kodiak. 3375 Badger Road

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got it,” Beckmen said of chronic wasting disease. “The only way is to keep it from coming in.” CWD is spreading in cervid populations in the Lower 48 — cervids are members of the deer family. It was first detected in mule deer at a research facility in northern Colorado in the late 1960s. By the mid-1980s, it was found to have spread to free-ranging deer and elk in Colorado and Wyoming. “There’s no treatment, no In time, the diseased continway to eliminate it once you’ve ued to spread. It’s been found

Prevention critical

in free-ranging deer and elk (and in captive or farmed deer and elk) in 19 states and two Canadian provinces. CWD also has been detected in wild moose in Colorado and Wyoming. This month, Texas announced that CWD had been detected in that state for the first time. Mule deer in northern Texas were recently discovered to be carrying CWD, making Texas the 19th state with the disease in cervid populations. Although the disease has not yet been found in wild caribou, evidence from genetics studies conducted in collaboration with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game indicates that caribou are highly likely to be susceptible. Please see CWD, Page 21


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

CWD Continued from Page 20

Since 2002, Fish and Game’s Division of Wildlife Conservation has tested almost 3,000 animals for CWD — and all proved to be disease-free. About 400 moose, 2,000 Sitka black-tailed deer, 160 wild elk and 85 caribou were tested; many were provided by hunters or were road-killed animals. Beckmen said necropsies were also performed on animals that were obtained that had any suspicious signs.

“If they were skinny or seemed to have neurological disorders, they were tested,” she said. “There was a lot of roadkill on the Kenai (Peninsula) and the Mat-Su (Valley) this winter, and those were tested as well. But that was the last of the surveillance program, the federal funding for CWD testing has been eliminated.” There are about a dozen facilities in Alaska with privately owned elk and the CWD status of those animals is unknown. Domestic elk and reindeer are considered private livestock and are import-

ed under regulations covering livestock. Game farms are not regulated by Fish and Game and CWD testing there is voluntary. Deer are wild game and can’t be imported without a permit from ADF&G.

Real concern There is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans or domestic livestock like cattle, but the disease is a real concern for deer, moose and elk populations. CWD is caused by an infectious protein called prions and is in the same group of diseases as bovine

spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease). No treatment is available for animals affected with CWD, and there is no vaccine to prevent CWD infection in deer or elk. Once clinical signs develop, the disease is invariably fatal. The most obvious sign of CWD is progressive weight loss — thus the name chronic wasting disease. In addition to emaciation, classic clinical signs of CWD include wide stance, lowered head, droopy ears and excessive salivation. Although CWD has a long incubation period where no symptoms are apparent, once

symptoms appear the clinical course varies from a few days to approximately a year, with most animals surviving from a few weeks to several months. That extended incubation period — some 18 to 24 months on average between infection and the onset of clinical signs — makes controlling the spread of the disease more difficult. Infected animals may not show symptoms, and infected animals or animal parts may more easily be spread inadvertently. Another problem is the infectious agent — prions. Please see CWD, Page 22

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

Keep it cool, keep it clean, keep it dry Meat care is paramount By TIM MOWRY Shooting big game animals in Alaska is a privilege that should not be taken lightly, especially when it comes to packing out 600 or 700 pounds of moose meat and bones. It is a hunter’s responsibility and obligation to take the

best possible care of the meat of an animal they shoot. When it comes to butchering, handling and preserving meat, no matter what the animal, there are three basic rules to follow: 1) Keep the meat as clean as possible. 2) Keep the meat as cool as possible. 3) Keep the meat as dry as possible. “It’s how the meat is taken care of more than anything else,” said big game guide Virgil Umphenour, who also owns

Interior Alaska Fish Processors. The first step in assuring the best meat quality possible is getting a quick, clean kill. Ideally, you don’t want an animal to run off after you shoot it. Once an animal is down, it’s important to butcher it as quickly as possible so the meat can begin cooling. That means having the necessary tools (i.e. knives, game bags, tarps, etc.) with you so you don’t have to walk or drive back to camp to retrieve


“If you butcher (the meat) immediately and hang it immediately, that’s the most important thing.” — Big game guide Virgil Umphenour

them. The quicker you remove the hide and get the front and hind quarters removed the better, said Dave Kelleyhouse, a former state wildlife biologist and big-game hunter who has butchered more than his share of moose. “It really helps taking that carcass apart,” Kelleyhouse said. “By taking the hind quarters off and taking the front shoulders off, you’re cooling everything down.” Time is of the essence, Umphenour said. “If you butcher it immediately and hang it immediately, that’s the most important thing,” he said. Here are some tips about keeping meat clean, cool and dry.

Keep it clean • Do not place the meat on dirt or sand. • Bring several tarps to put the meat on after it removed from the animal. If you don’t have a tarp, lay some spruce boughs down or find some dry grass to set the meat on. • Peel the hide back as you skin the animal to avoid get-



Continued from Page 21


The shaded areas on this map generally show the private lands owned by NANA REGIONAL CORPORATION, INC. (NANA). Access to these lands for hunting and fishing is allowable only by NANA shareholders and their families and by non-shareholders of NANA who have been permanent residents of the NANA region for at least 5 years and who receive a permit from NANA. Other allowable uses of NANA lands require a permit. Detailed maps of NANA lands, further information regarding allowable uses, and permits may be obtained from: NANA REGIONAL CORPORATION, INC. LAND DEPARTMENT P.O. BOX 49 KOTZEBUE, ALASKA 99752 (907) 442-3301 •

ting hair on the meat. • Tuck a tarp or game bag under the front and back quarters as you prepare to remove them and let them fall on that instead of the ground. • Use quality game bags. The heavy, cotton bags that resemble giant laundry bags are the best. Do not use the cheesecloth-type bags because they rip easily and are not big enough to hold a moose quarter. • Try to keep game bags as clean and blood-free as possible. Blood attracts flies. • Rinse off any rumen, bile or urine that gets on the meat. • Take great care not to puncture any organs, such as the stomach, in the butchering process. You’ll know it if you puncture the stomach.

Keep it cool • Heat is your biggest enemy, so do whatever it takes to get the meat cooled down. Hang it in the shade. Stick it in large trash compactor bags and dunk it in the river or a lake to keep it cool, but make Please see MEAT, Page 23

an provinces have banned the use of hunting products that contain fluids or tissue from any cervid. “We want to close all the loopholes to bring CWD up here; we want to remain CWD free,” Beckmen said. “The only way we’ll be able to stay that way is banning at-risk materials.”

Prions are extremely resistant to degradation and can persist in the environment for decades in contaminated soil. Prions also can be found in deer saliva, feces and urine, and in the soil where an infectRiley Woodford is the editor of ed carcass decomposed or Alaska Fish and Wildlife News, a where infected animals lived. publication put out by the Alaska Several states and Canadi- Department of Fish and Game.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012



ate a dark, outer crust that dry before putting the game 10 days before cutting it up, muscle proteins and makes makes it harder for flies to lay bags back on. if possible. Hanging the meat the meat more tender and fla• Hang meat for a week to promotes the breakdown of vorful. eggs on the meat. Let the meat

Continued from Page 22

sure there are no holes in the bags. • Don’t bone meat out unless it is absolutely necessary. Boning out meat exposes more meat to the air, and it’s harder to keep the meat cool and dry with several pieces piled on top of each other in a game bag. • Hang the meat on a meat pole to get it off the ground and allow air to circulate. If you don’t have a meat pole, build a mat or bench branches or sticks to keep the meat off the ground. If you have a raft, lay sticks across the raft and lay the meat on top of the sticks to get it off the floor of the raft. • Check and move meat at least once or twice daily, pulling the game bags up to avoid the bags from sticking to the meat and moving loose pieces of meat around. • Never store meat in plastic bags.

Keep it dry

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• Bring lots of tarps, both to use during the butchering process and to use as shades or shelters after you get back in camp. Keep a tarp over the meat at night even if it’s not raining to avoid condensation or dew from settling on the game bags. • Do not store meat on the floor of a raft for any reason; it will get wet and spoil. Construct some kind of frame that allows you to keep the meat off the floor and pack your gear in dry bags so it can be stored in the bottom of the raft in place of the meat. • Keep meat covered with a tarp at all times when it’s raining and check to make sure water is running off the tarps, not onto the meat. • After hanging the meat, remove the game bags and spray the meat with a citric acid/water mixture (2 ounces of citric acid per quart of water) until the mixture begins to run off the meat. The citric acid will slow bacteria growth and help cre-


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

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Tips for making a good shot By TIM MOWRY

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Spotting a 60-inch bull moose is enough to get any hunter’s heart and adrenaline pumping. That’s why it’s important to take a few deep breaths before pulling the trigger. “You want your pulse to be down,” said big game hunting guide Virgil Umphenour, who has seen plenty of moose, sheep and bear that have taken his breath away. “Before I crest a rise where I’m going to shoot a sheep, I stop and take a break so my pulse is down to normal and I’m not breathing hard. Then I slowly go over the rise.” The most important factor when preparing to shoot a big game animal is to have a stable shooting position so you feel comfortable, Umphenour said. The basic rule of thumb in shooting Alaska big game is that 300 yards is a long shot and not one to be taken lightly. “Three hundred yards in the field is a fairly long shot for an average hunter,” Umphenour said. Most hunters tend to overestimate shooting ranges, he noted. Laser range finders are a handy tool to have when judging shooting distances in the field, Umphenour said. They are accurate to within a few yards and don’t add much weight to a pack. “Every sheep hunter should carry one of those things,” he said. While many sheep hunters rely on bipods — two-legged stands attached to the rifle — to ensure accuracy, Umphenour prefers to use a backpack or a jacket on top of a rock for a gun rest. “I don’t like most of those (bipods),” he said. “I don’t want Please see SHOOTING, Page 25


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

Some tips on sexing caribou How to tell a bull from a cow Staff Report Because they both have antlers, sometimes it’s not easy telling the difference between bull and cow caribou. Here are tips from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to help differentiate bulls from cows. • Bulls have an all-white rump while cows have a black vulva patch. • Look for a penis sheath on the belly to identify bulls. • Don’t use testicles as the

SHOOTING Continued from Page 24

anything that attaches to the (rifle) barrel; every time you shoot a rifle, the barrel whips and vibrates. “If it attaches to the stock, it’s OK,” Umphenour said. “A bipod is OK if a guy has a lot of practice with it.” Another thing Umphenour recommends hunters do is tape the ballistics of the ammunition you are shooting to the stock of your rifle. Tables in the back of most shooting manuals tell the amount a bullet will drop over distance, given the caliber and weight of the bullet. Umphenour advises hunters to sight in their rifles at various distances to know how they shoot at each. “I’d start out at 25 yards and shoot it at 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500,” he said. It helps to use life-size targets, too, whether you buy them or make your own out of cardboard. “Then you’ll know how big your target looks at various ranges in your scope,” he said. “It helps you estimate range and it helps you figure out what your aiming point should be.”

primary way to identify bulls. The udder on a cow caribou can look a lot like the testicles on a bull. • Try to wait for the animal to urinate. Urine from cows comes from behind the animal and urine from bulls comes from the bottom of the stomach. • Older bulls have large antlers in relation to their body size and cows have relatively small antlers. • Some older cows may have larger antlers than young bulls, so be careful using antler size Check out the Department of Fish and Game’s brochure on how to identify bull caribou at A bull caribou in Denali National Park and Preserve. cfm?adfg=caribou.main. Hunters should also study the anatomy of the animal they are hunting. It’s important to know how many inches it is from the top of an animal’s back to its heart and lungs. “The place where I want (clients) to shoot moose is through both lungs, in back of the front feet in the middle of the moose,” he said. The lungs offer a bigger target than the heart or neck, Umphenour said. “The trouble with a neck shot is if you don’t hit the jugular or backbone there’s a good chance you’re not going to get that moose,” he said. “If you don’t hit a big artery or blood vessel you’re not going to have enough blood to track it.” All bullets are not created equal and hunters need to know the behavior of the bullets they are shooting, said Umphenour, who recommends spitzer boatails or hollow point boatails. For example, a 180-grain, 30caliber bullet with a blunt nose and no taper in the back will react differently than a tipped bullet with a taper. “The velocity of that compared to a blunt-nosed bullet with a flat back that’s not tapered will be 200 or 300 feet a second,” he said. “You start to lose velocity much faster.”

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

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Tips for preserving your trophy By TIM MOWRY Even if you’re not thinking about shooting a trophy bull or ram this year, it probably wouldn’t hurt to be prepared just in case you find yourself staring at a once-in-a-lifetime animal. “A lot of times it’s not until (hunters) get an animal down and they say, ‘Man, I want to get this mounted,’” Rich Hamilton of Brow-Tine Taxidermy in North Pole said. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to a taxidermist before you head out into the woods or mountains about what you need to do to best preserve a trophy in the field. When it comes to taxidermy, it’s easier to prevent mistakes early than fixing them later. “It only takes a 5-minute phone call to a taxidermist, and he’ll tell you what you need to know, rather than relying on a friend who may or may not have done it before,” Hamilton said. The job you do skinning the animal out in the field will determine more than anything else how it looks on the wall, Hamilton said. “The better the medium you start off with, the better your mount is going to turn out,” he said. “The main thing for (hunters) to do is decide what they’re going to do before they get out there.”

Talk is cheap

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Talk to a taxidermist before going into the field. It’s free and it can save you a bundle in the long run. The biggest mistakes hunters make in preparing animals for taxidermy are cutting capes too short and poor fleshing of hides, both of which can be addressed by Please see TROPHY, Page 27


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

needed for a sheep or caribou and a minimum of 50 pounds Find out what’s its going is needed for a moose hide. to cost before you commit Washing a hide requires as Continued from Page 26 to it. much as two or three times as Mounts aren’t cheap, even your taxidermist before you much salt. if you’re just getting a basic head to the field. antler mount. Find out how much money you’re going Take an extra tent just for to have to invest before you animals when you go hunting. show up at the taxidermy A tent will quicken the shop with your trophy. The most important thing drying process by waterproofhunters must do is turn the ing the hides and increasing lips, ears and eyelids on an the drying temperature. It’s animal and split the nostrils, warmer in a tent and it proDon’t expect your mount which are the basic require- vides protection from the sun, back in a week. It takes about ments for preserving a head which helps prevent slipping a year for most taxidermists mount for any big game ani- or loss of hair. to complete a mount. mal. Failure to do so properly will result in hair loss that will make it impossible and Make sure you have room Never salt and then freeze impractical to mount. in your house for what you a hide. Salt water does not “No matter what the freeze, which means a salted want to have mounted. animal, the ears have to be cape never really freezes. You don’t want to spend a turned, the lips have to be bunch of money on a moose split, the nostril wings have or caribou mount when you to be split, the eyelids need don’t have room to display to be turned and any chunks Take time to thoroughly of flesh or fat need to be flesh the hide. You’ll have removed,” Hamilton said. major slippage if you don’t get “Only after that, do you put all the fat and meat off the salt on it.” hide. A glaze will form and The easiest way to learn prevent the salt from doings those techniques is to have a its job. taxidermist show you, Hamilton said. “We kind of have our own different little things we do Don’t cut the cape too and that we recommend,” he short. Cut around the belly said. or rib cage, not the shoulder, Beginners will most likely make mistakes skinning ani- so your taxidermist has some Please use caution when mals the first time or two but room to play with. It doesn’t Hamilton cautioned hunters cost extra to leave extra cape travelling along Ferry on the animal. not to get discouraged.

Check into cost


Learn how to turn and split

Take a tent

Be patient

Salt doesn’t freeze

Flesh it clean

Think ahead

News-Miner file

A wolf display is seen in the lobby of the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge offices. The display, along with a moose display, were donated by Rich Hamilton, a taxidermist who owns Brow-Tine Taxidermy. The animals were hunted by Hamilton. it.

shoot it and make sure you Figure out where you’re have a way to get it in the going to put it before you house.


Leave extra room

“If you haven’t done this before you’re probably going to put a nick or two in it; don’t throw the cape away if you do,” he said. “You can put some nicks in there and surprisingly there’s a lot of things that can be fixed.”

Salt, salt and more salt Take plenty of salt. It’s better to have too much salt than not enough and it’s cheap. Immediate salting is crucial to preserving a hide for taxidermy. Depending on the weather, some hides start slipping in two or three days. At least 5-10 pounds of finegrained, non-iodized salt is

Drain antler blood If you want to save velvet on caribou antlers, poke holes in the tips to drain blood. You’ll be surprised by how much blood the antlers hold. Also, use cloth backing if you tie the antlers with rope. That way, you don’t scar the velvet.

Consider antler options Check into detachable antlers. It makes for easier and cheaper shipping and also makes moving the mounts in and out of houses much easier. It only costs an extra $20 and requires just one hole to be drilled.


Road, connecting trails and ridge tops this hunting season. Road maintenance and upgrade work tied to the Eva Creek Wind project is expected to continue into the winter months. Watch for heavy equipment and construction traffic on the road. Short delays are possible. For more information, contact GVEA at 451-1151.

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, August 10, 2012

2012 Hunting Edition  

Tips and advice for Interior Alaska hunters in search of moose, caribou, sheep and other game.