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Aerial control

Predator control approved, long-term solutions also include habitat enhancement

Posted: January 18, 2012 - 12:07am

The Alaska State Board of Game voted unanimously Monday to approve aerial wolf predator control on the Kenai Peninsula. 

The two proposals, 35 and 36, for Game Management Units 15A and 15C respectively, call for intensive management on the Peninsula with the goal of increasing moose populations. 

The proposals still have to be processed through the legal system, but they were put on the board’s priority list that also includes a proposal for intensive management in Unit 26B, which includes Deadhorse. 

“(Unit) 15C will be the top priority to be completed through the legal process,” board vice-chair Ted Spraker said.

The next priority is Unit 15A, followed by 26B, Spraker said. Since the proposals were expedited, the soonest anything would happen would be early March, Spraker said. 

The decision to pass proposals 35 and 36 came after a lengthy discussion and public comment period last weekend during the statewide Board of Game meeting in Anchorage. The discussion amongst the board was not a matter of if, but how, Spraker said. 

“There wasn’t much debate on the need to do it, it was kind of how to do it,” Spraker said. “We talked about letting the public do the aerial shooting, we talked about wolves being the primary predator that we needed to address, we talked a lot about the (Kenai National Wildlife) Refuge.”

Spraker said although the predator control might be a short-term fix, the long term fix deals more with the refuge and habitat enhancement. 

The majority of Unit 15A resides on the refuge.

“The long-term fix, at least in the northern part of the Kenai (Peninsula), is to do habitat enhancement,” Spraker said. “And that is going to be for the refuge to address. But in the mean time, the main thing was we wanted to reduce the number of wolves just to give ourselves some time to look at doing some of these habitat projects that are the long-term fix.”

Refuge manager Andy Loranger said during the last 50 years, the refuge has been involved with enhancing habitat for moose in a variety of ways. In the mid-to-late 1960s through the 70s and early 80s, he said the refuge used mechanical habitat manipulation, and more recently, prescribed burning.

“As you can imagine, there are challenges with both of those techniques in terms of applying them to the land,” Loranger said. 

Mechanical manipulation, Loranger said, involved tree crushers, and in the early days, even the use of bulldozers with large heavy chains in between, to create openings and conditions that favored hardwood regeneration. The regeneration of hardwood trees, like birch and aspen, provides ideal and nutritious habitat for wintering moose.

 The proof, he said, is the effects seen after the fires of 1947 and 1969.

“The 1947 burn was about 300,000-plus acres and the ‘69 burn was roughly 80,000 acres,” Loranger said. “And so the populations of moose on the northern Peninsula really responded to those fires and the habitat, what we call early seral habitat that was generated — especially hardwood regeneration, species like birch and aspen.” 

The result of fires creating a beneficial habitat for moose has led the refuge to do some small-scale habitat enhancement with some smaller fires in the backcountry. Although the burns seem to work, it is not as simple as just starting a fire, Loranger said.

“What we’re all challenged with is how to do this in a way that we’re not dealing with the catastrophic wildfire that threatens communities and people and their properties,” he said.

 

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ak4hunters
0
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ak4hunters 01/18/12 - 09:30 am
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About Time!

Hats off to Board of Game! I sat in meeting a number of years ago and Ted Spraker, who at the time was the acting state biologist, warned the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge that if they didn’t get in gear and address the declining habitat problem we would have a severe decline in our moose population. The Feds want to turn the Kenai into a park. The other problem has been the incompetency of our local state biologists they have let the predators build to a point where predation on moose has become just as significant factor in the decline. There is a reason why only the anti-hunting groups are the only people who listen to our local boys.

orionsbow1
4
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orionsbow1 01/18/12 - 09:37 am
0
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Done deal

As I have said before, this was a done deal with no regard to public comment or sediment. As Board of Game vice chair Spraker himself said “There wasn’t much debate on the need to do it, it was kind of how to do it,”.
Its funny how the 1947 fire and the 1969 fire rebounded moose populations without the aid of aerial wolf slaughter. Yet the Board of Game wants us to believe that this time we need to gun down wolves for the "short term fix". Well, I'm not buying it.

ladyonthelake
3
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ladyonthelake 01/18/12 - 10:04 am
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Wildlife Management 101

When predators build they kill moose, it’s a mathematical equation (100 moose per wolf when all three predators are present) . When you have the component of poor habitat the predators make the moose population more susceptible to a decline because there is no calf recruitment. This is wildlife management 101 and most anti-hunters don’t understand this concept because they choose not to.

orionsbow1
4
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orionsbow1 01/18/12 - 10:36 am
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Predators

Predators cant build beyond the capacity of the prey, if they do they starve...that is wildlife 101. The wolf population is probably already on the decline due to low moose numbers. Poor habitat is the #1 reason why there is low calf recruitment. While I am not an anti hunter, in fact I am an avid hunter, I am also not a minion of the board of game or the trophy hunter outfitters.

realitycheck
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realitycheck 01/18/12 - 10:48 am
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Spraker

Too bad Board member Spraker never gets criticized for reducing the wolf trapping season in the 1980s, reducing the hunting bag limit for wolves in the late 1980s, reducing the black bear bag limit in the 1990s, and eliminating brown bear hunting in the 1990s. He had a long history of reducing hunting opportunity while he worked for fish and game.

Allen
555
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Allen 01/18/12 - 11:53 am
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It's the Habitat

It's the habitat, not the predators that has moose levels lower than the Board of Game wants (which are not realistic). That's what all the real (independent) biologists say. Yet the Board does not address that issue. In the Anchorage Daily News today the Board of Game admits that killing wolves has done nothing to raise moose levels in some units. What's their solution? Kill bears too. No doubt that will also be useless. When will this madness end?

AKR
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AKR 01/18/12 - 12:31 pm
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This is ridiculous

How about people just stop killing so many moose instead of killing more animals to resolve the problem of killing too many animals in the first place? This is horrible wildlife management. Wildlife management shouldn't mean "shoot more stuff."

ak4hunters
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ak4hunters 01/18/12 - 03:27 pm
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Realitycheck NEEDS a reality check

Realitycheck
Board member Spraker never gets criticized for reducing the wolf trapping season in the 1980s, reducing the hunting bag limit for wolves in the late 1980s, reducing the black bear bag limit in the 1990s, and eliminating brown bear hunting in the 1990s BECAUSE that is the most absurd ignorant statement yet. I hunted and trapped from the 1980’s to present and Ted Spraker fought the Feds from a 4 day trap check and any additional unnecessary restrictions put upon the resource users. That’s why he never gets criticized. Check your facts before you start making false accusations of individuals.

realitycheck
0
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realitycheck 01/18/12 - 04:41 pm
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Spraker facts

AK4hunters,
You might need to do a bit of fact checking yourself. Spraker was the local game biologist when the fish and game submitted the proposal to take the month of march off the wolf trapping season which required action by the trappers association to get put back in place several years later. Spraker was the biologist in charge when the fish and game proposed to the game board to reduce the hunting bag limit for wolves from 6 a year down to one. Spraker was the biologist in charge when fish and game proposed a reduction in the black bear bag limit because he believed there was a conservation concern with the high harvest. Spraker was the biologist in charge when brown bears were listed as a special conservation concern by fish and game, and hunting changed from a open season to seasons closed by emergency notices. Look at what he did not what he says.

bornalaskan
31
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bornalaskan 01/18/12 - 06:39 pm
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Aerial Wolf Hunt

Why should any animal have to pay for our greed when the store is no more than a hour from most homes. I can remember when you could count between 50 and 100 moose from Anchorage and Homer. And a hunt out of Anchorage was within 1 to 2 hours. I believe the board needs to rethink this and do the right thing. This can't be there best.

AKNATUREGUY
295
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AKNATUREGUY 01/18/12 - 08:15 pm
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Thanks For The Kenai Refuge................But

Thanks for the Kenai Refuge where it appears that modern day wildlife management is practiced..............But is the wildlife within the refuge safe from the aerial guns of the "rat chokers"? Probably not. Aerial predator gunners will stop at almost nothing to indiscriminately kill wildlife. The Kenai Refuge will have to step up it's enforcement efforts to patrol back areas on federal land to prevent State and private gunners from killing wolves on federal land. The wildlife on the refuge belongs to all citizens of the United States, not just hunters living in Alaska or non-resident big game hunters.

Were it not for the vast federal lands within the State of Alaska, the Palin-Parnell-Campbell-Rossi administrations would probably have stopped at nothing to kill as many wolves and bears possible.

Yes, bornalaskan is correct. I can remember just a few years ago when I couinted over 15 moose on my 2 acre property. People moved into the area, "great white hunters" illegally shot moose, their habitat was destroyed and they were killed by vehicles. Now, it is difficult to see more than one moose on the same property at any time. NO wolves were involved in the killing of any of these moose, that I am aware of.

Alaska needs to replace the Parnell administration and the political Board of Game with a modern day science approach to wildlife management.

ak4hunters
0
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ak4hunters 01/19/12 - 03:46 pm
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Realitycheck needs another reality check

Here are the facts,
Fact 1: Ted Spraker never reduced a season or bag limit unless there was a biological concern.
Fact 2: It was Chuck Schwartz the researcher for ADF&G who pushed for the species of the special concern on brown bears, Spraker fought hard against it.
Fact 3: The antler restriction has been a proven management strategy and has been adopted by most biologists around the state.
Fact 4: I know all of these facts because I sat the on the local advisory committee for many years and know exactly what Ted Spraker did.
Fact 5: All of you greenies have a hard time swallowing that Ted Spraker is one of the best, well respected biologists in the state. And thank God he’s looking out for the resource and the people who use it.

Raoulduke
1796
Points
Raoulduke 01/19/12 - 04:23 pm
0
0

predation

The moose are on a decline?Well! Quit hitting them with automobiles.Hundreds get killed on the roads every single winter.Let us blame the wolves.Do the wolves kill hundreds of moose in a winter on the Kenai?Aerial control is just playing modern day cowboy.Sorry! I just do not agree with the program.

bornalaskan
31
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bornalaskan 01/19/12 - 06:17 pm
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0

facts

I do not consider myself a greenie however I can give you my facts going back from the 60s on to the present . I have traveled around alaska by airplanes, boats and snowmachines all kinds of ways and never seen a over abundance of wolves but I have seen a lot of hunting camps and signs of where we have been. We should leave this land in better shape then we entered it for our families to enjoy.

ak4hunters
0
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ak4hunters 01/19/12 - 06:49 pm
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0

Realitycheck coments are disturbing

Realitycheck
what is disturbing about your blog is how much detailed information you know about what Ted Spraker during his career, sounds like an ADF&G employee to me.

Jedediah Smith
8
Points
Jedediah Smith 01/19/12 - 06:56 pm
0
0

Predator Control Needed

I trap, hunt, fish and am a pilot. I fly the Kenai often, what I am seeing is a lot less moose than I use to and a lot more bears and wolves. People need to understand that predation is the main reason why our moose population is declining. This is all over the Peninsula. We key on 15A and 15C, 15B is even in worse shape.

bornalaskan
31
Points
bornalaskan 01/19/12 - 07:51 pm
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0

Aerial Wolf Hunt

Well after all the wolves are cut down then we will blame the bear then what the eagles. When do we look at our selfs. Why not put the moose inside a fence like cattle.

ladyonthelake
3
Points
ladyonthelake 01/19/12 - 08:15 pm
0
0

Proactive management needed

It is time we bring back our moose population and the Board of Game has given the tools for the Dept. of Fish and Game to do so. Lowering predation and enhancing habitat will be key for 15A. In 15C, where there is no habitat problem, lowering predators will be essential. If we can get the Feds to stop managing the refuge like a park and stop their hand wringing we might see progress.

realitycheck
0
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realitycheck 01/19/12 - 08:19 pm
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0

ak4hunters

I'd bet my hat that ak4hunters is related to Spraker.

ak4hunters
0
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ak4hunters 01/19/12 - 11:55 pm
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0

realitycheck wrong again

No not related but have known Spraker for many years. I suggest you do something productive......like your job and quit wasting the publics money.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 01/20/12 - 07:55 am
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0

Terrible Legacy

What a terrible legacy the Palin/Parnell/Cora Campbell/Corey Rossi/Ted Spraker & BOG will leave our children. The political cowboys promoting "intensive management" on the Kenai Peninsula by aerial gunning wolves so that the moose population can be artifically increased. Why don't they just build a large ranch with fences like they do in Texas and have the "hunters" pick out a moose and shoot it?

I fell like we are 50 years behind modern wildlife management science here in Alaska! It is like when the county commissioners in some areas of the Lower 48 used to pay $$ for a fox tail because all the "hunters" thought the fox were killing off all the game animals like pheasants and rabbits. Then modern wildlife management 101 finally emerged and the public learned that it really wasn't the fox or coyotes that was limiting the game populations; it was the destruction of suitable habitat. There was such an uproar over paying taxpayer $$$ for killing predators that this out dated practice was halted.

Same thing going on here with the infamous "No Science" approach to game management. What a disgrace!

Raoulduke
1796
Points
Raoulduke 01/20/12 - 05:59 pm
0
0

Voted for Legacy

Well!Every one of these people were voted into office by Alaskan's,or were appointed by the elected official's.Nobody to blame but Alaskan's.Who voted them into office.Should not complain .Got what you wanted.

AKNATUREGUY
295
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AKNATUREGUY 01/20/12 - 06:27 pm
0
0

Right Wingers Legacey

Raoulduke............I don't think most of the people on here complaining voted for the Palin or Parnell administration. I know, I didn't. But you are exactly right. Unfortunately, this is what the far right wingers will pass on as a legacy to everyone's children. The BOG members must have difficulty sleeping at night. I wonder if they are proud to be passing along such horrific mis-management of our natural wildlife resources.

JOAT
487
Points
JOAT 01/21/12 - 04:56 am
0
0

Left Wing Lunacy

It is quite clear that the nature-nuts around here have no clue about wildlife management. In addition to opening up access for wolf hunting (via airplanes), we also need a drastic increase in the brown bear harvest. Time to get rid of the once per 4 years limited drawing tags. If a hunter wants a brownie every year, let him put in for the tags. And triple the number of draw tags immediately. We have bears out the wazoo and none of them or the wolves appear to be following the 50-inch bulls only rule. In fact, all them predators are killing off all the cows and calves. Go figure.

Raoulduke
1796
Points
Raoulduke 01/21/12 - 05:39 am
0
0

legacy, lunacy

Aknatureguy
I disagree.I believe that most of the folks.Who have commented.DID vote for these folks.I can not call them far right wing nuts.I just call them elected officials.Who have been bought,and paid for by special interest.But the Alaskan still re-elects them. Who's to blame?

JustSaying
0
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JustSaying 01/22/12 - 02:22 am
0
0

Moose population in 15C

Did any of you read the predator control proposals for 15A and 15C?

In 15A, loss of habitat is cited as the primary reason for a 40% decline in moose population in the last 20 years.

But in 15C the proposal says there was a 40% INCREASE in the moose population in the same time period.

So why is predator control required in order to increase the moose harvest in 15C? There are an estimated 900 to 1,000 more moose in the unit. Declining harvest totals can't be related to predation if the moose population has increased by 40%. What are the real reasons for declining harvest totals? Fewer hunters making less of an effort? Fewer moose in the most accessible areas? Does it make any sense to even have a harvest goal?

I understand the perspective of those like AK4Hunters, but when the BoG makes decisions like this, it seems pretty obvious it has nothing to do with reason, let alone science. It's shameful.

souldotna
2
Points
souldotna 01/22/12 - 03:07 pm
0
0

Game managment for the 1%

There is nothing ethical or scientific about this decision. The Rossi scandal is exposing the agenda of the BoG: Game management for the rich and connected.

http://solinsoldotna.blogspot.com/

kenaicommoner
0
Points
kenaicommoner 01/23/12 - 11:04 am
0
0

AK4hunters is Spraker

I've read a few of this person's posts over the last few months and I am pretty sure this is Ted Spraker. Just as I'm pretty sure that ladyonthelake is his wife Elaine...distorting the facts as usual, how pathetic.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 01/23/12 - 11:52 am
0
0

BOG NEEDS TO RESIGN

Yes, kenaicommoner, you are probably correct. They are about the only 2 commentors who support what the BOG is doing.

There is one other guy..........JOAT...........and I suspect he is a local/State cowboy politician connected to the "good ole boy BOG killers" because he never answers any questions.

Read George Matz's letter to the Kenai Peninsula Clarion editor on 1/20. George is a former BOG member and "says it like it is".

Craig Medford (Alaska Dispatch) has also done an excellent investigative reporting job exposing PALIN/PARNELL/CORA CAMPELL/ COREY ROSSI & the BOG unethical wildlife management practices! Read the articles online. It will turn your stomach!

Hunt
0
Points
Hunt 01/30/12 - 03:42 pm
0
0

Preditor control

Ok first off, Aknaturegirl you need to go back to California with the other homosexuals. You obviously don't know a damn thing about wild life management. The wolves and bears are way out of control due to poor management because of our ignorant biologists and Ted Spraker. Does anyone remember the two huge fires we had in the caribou hills and around Tustamena lake? I do and the both created excellent moose habitat, yet theres no moose hardly at all. Explain that one! Everyone always blames it on the habitat, thats nothing but an excuse. Sellinger and Lewis have no idea about the habitat or our brown bear population. They pull theese thoughts right out of there ass just as Spraker did when he shut down the brown bear hunting based on a number that he pulled out of his ass. He did no studies on them what so ever there was no way to back then. You can't fly around and count an animal that is mostly nocturnal! Well you might be able to now since they out number every other animal around.

Also for the bone head that assumes that the brown bears will just die off due to lack of food you need to do a little more research on bears. They also eat fish, bugs, roots, sprouts, black bears, ground squirells, caribou, berries and now garbage on your back porch because there so damn many of them thanks to Spraker and tree huggers like aknaturegirl.
Preditors are the problem here no questions about it. Anyone that spends any time in the woods knows this.

A number of moose get hit by cars every year, this has been happening for a long time believe it or not! It has never made a impact on the moose population, and infact the numers are lower than they used to be because there is fewer moose to be hit. Therefore this is not a factor in our problem.

For the guy/girl that said the store is less then an hour away I got news for you, beef is not made in the store, it also comes from a living breathing animal that is raised in a fence and fed all kinds of steroids to make them grow faster and doesnt have half the nutritional value of moose meat. So go ahead and eat your beef, i'll stick with moose.
CHEW ON THAT!!!!!

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