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Other solutions to moose issue should be considered

Posted: February 3, 2012 - 10:12am

"To me this is a very clear cut case. We can either sit, wait, and hope, or we can be proactive and try to do something for our moose population." So said Ted Spraker of the Alaska Board of Game at the board meeting in Anchorage where they voted to start aerial killing of wolves in order to maybe increase the moose population on the Kenai Peninsula.

That statement sounds like the drunk who looks for his keys under the streetlight because that's where the light is. Aerial killing of wolves seems to be under the light because that is where many others have looked for the key to declining moose populations. But that solution at best works temporarily and requires implementation every year. 

There are other places to look for keys to declining moose populations and light seems to be shining very brightly on other ideas, such as habitat destruction. In addition the January 27 article by John Morton in the regular feature, Refuge Notebook, illuminates another source of moose decline which maybe just as serious as habitat destruction: moose becoming roadkill. The numbers show that 33 percent of all moose killed by humans are killed by cars and trucks. Remember that moose-vehicle collisions are under-reported, so the real number is closer to 40-45 percent? The resulting cost to both moose and people is huge. The Refuge Notebook article provides a solution which includes wildlife bridges and tunnels and bottomless culverts that prevent moose from crossing the road unless they use a tunnel or bridge or from even being on the roadside at all.

I saw this work in Banff National Park. One evening at near sunset I saw a huge black bear amble through a tunnel under the main highway out in the middle of nowhere. An hour later I saw a bison go through in the opposite direction. Clearly the bison and bear had worked out a mutually agreeable schedule. I stopped to watch because I just could not believe that animals would ever really use such a simple device.

So perhaps this is a solution to two problems, stopping the waste of 250 moose/year and dramatically reducing the huge cost, injury and death of our citizens. I found in a Wikipedia article estimates for the value of a single human life as anything from $50,000/year of productive life remaining to around $6 million. Saving two or three lives would pay for fixing the roadside with special culverts, making tunnels and bridges for moose to cross over roadways in the end the cheapest and an effective solution which is done once, not every year.

Clearly the other problem, habitat destruction, has to be solved as well. Tunnels and overpasses will not feed moose or provide viable areas to calf if both sides of the road have no browse. We need to seek and be open to objective science and not just recycle old ideas and solutions that do not work. And of course, dump the politics.

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fish907
6
Points
fish907 02/03/12 - 02:06 pm
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Habitat Management Responsibilities

The proposal to allow aerial wolf hunting was made and passed precisely because there is no will to offer alternatives. The Game Board is only acting in accordance with the law. They have acknowledged that habitat is the major factor in low moose populations. And incidentally, habitat destruction is not the problem. The problem stems from the changing characteristics of the forest habitat, a natural process.

The Refuge is quick to identify problems, but will not implement nor participate in solutions. The Federal overseers of the Refuge have decided that they will not manage the habitat for population purposes, but only maintain the status quo.

Your concern about roadkill are well founded, but your solution should be only one part of a wildlife management plan. If one of the primary entities that has responsibility refuses to participate in that plan, then it will never work.

I'm sure aerial predator control wasn't the first choice,nor even the preferred choice of the State Game Board, but given the intentional inaction of the Refuge managers, they have been left with little other choice than to watch the moose population on the Peninsula continue to fall.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 02/03/12 - 05:08 pm
0
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BS-fish907

Richard Hoskins is RIGHT ON!!!

Please quote the law that states the Board of Game is "acting in accordance with the law". This is ridiculous and is nothing more than good ole boy killing of one animal (wolves) to increase the population of another animal (moose) for the benefit of a few resident and wealthy non-resident hunters.

Since you are lameblasting the Kenai Refuge, I suspect you are actually one of the Sprakers...........again!

What a bunch of BS your last paragraph is!! Do you actually think we are a bunch of morons that can't think for ourselves or reraloize what the Parnell administration and BOG is doing to our resources?

I have never hear of the BOG entertaing a move to work with DOT to implement fencing and wildlife under/over passes. Since it sounds like you have a lot of insight into the BOG choices, alternatives discussed, decisions, etc; please enlighten the rest of us.

ladyonthelake
3
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ladyonthelake 02/03/12 - 05:09 pm
0
0
More education needed for Mr. Hoskins

Mr. Hoskins article is both arrogant and extremely inaccurate. He proceeds to slam a scientist who has studied wildlife for almost 40 years. And you do what for a living??
I am convinced that Mr. Hoskins flunked math. http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/2012-02-02/another-look-at-moose-mortality-numbers
I am also convinced that Mr. Hoskins does not hunt, therefore, does not have a clue of the habitat condition on the Kenai Peninsula. 15C area there is no habitat problem!!!

Fish907- your assessment is right on!

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 02/03/12 - 05:18 pm
0
0
Mr Spraker is no ethical scientist

Sorry, Mrs Spraker, your husband can not be an ethical scientist.

Modern day wildlife management 101 dictates an ecosystem diversity approach to managing our natural resources.

It appears that Mr Spraker has "sold his soul" to the corrupt Palin/Parnell administration when he was appointed to the position.

Jedediah Smith
8
Points
Jedediah Smith 02/03/12 - 05:38 pm
0
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The Kenai /Soldotna is a hunting, fishing, gathering community

aknatureguy- here are facts that you are not going to like. I am a member of the Kenai Peninsula Chapter of Safari Club International, a hunting club that promotes conservation, hunting and youth programs. We have the LARGEST attendance of any fund raiser on the peninsula (500 plus).
The Kenai /Soldotna area is a hunting, fishing gathering community. The vast majorities of us appreciate and respect the Spraker’s for their dedication to wildlife and the hunting community. If these facts are too much for you to handle then maybe you need to move to another community.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 02/03/12 - 07:05 pm
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Peninsula Chapter of Safari Poachers Club

Jedediah Smith-So what are thre facts regarding your fund raiser attendance? How is your group promoting sound science based diverse wildlife management? Are you promoting the science based methods used by federal wildlife managers here in Alaska and elsewhere? Are you asking the Parnell administration to replace the Board of Game members with someone who will promote ecosystem management that is being demanded by the majority of Alaskans?

I read that there were 386 comments on the proposals for the aerial gunning of wolves and 380 of the comments were opposed to the proposals. Don't know if this is true or not, but Mr Spraker should be able to tell us.

I have reasd that some Safari Club members are somer of the worst big game poachers in the world? Wether or not thast is true, I don't know. I do know that the Safari Club Organization is not held in high esteem among ethical conservationists throughout the world.

I applaud you for having the largest "conservastion" fund raiser on the Peninsula. Why don't you put these funds to good use and work with the State, the Feds, real conservation organizations? Maybe like fencing the highways, building over/under passes, getting the legislature to increase funding for the wildlife troopers to "fight" poaching, increase moose tag
prices 5 50 10 fold, getting the speed limits decreased significantly, etc.

You need to read Georg Matz's article in the Clairon on January 20.

fish907
6
Points
fish907 02/03/12 - 08:24 pm
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Response to AKNATUREGUY

AKNATUREGUY....if I have to explain it, you'll never get it.

Jedediah Smith
8
Points
Jedediah Smith 02/03/12 - 08:51 pm
0
0
Mean Greenie

AKNATUREGUY you are an angry individual who does not have the ability to debate the issues reasonably, that's why you are the minority voice. I will bet a Ben Franklin that 90% of the letters written to the BOG were from some smuck in Florida or Indiana who has never been to Alaska.
Vast majority of Alaskans support or engage in hunting, fishing and trapping NOT ecosystem management.
Again, AKANGRYGUY move on, Alaska is not for you.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 02/04/12 - 10:51 am
0
0
Jedediah Smith

Yeah, those darn mean Greenies won't let us have our big game ranch anymore.

I am not sure where you are getting your statistics......:"the vast majority of Alaskans support or engage in hunting, fishing and trapping". Your statement has nothing to do with aerial gunning of wolves to artifically develop a "big game ranch". Take out fishing, as it has nothing to do with the issue at hand and I believe you are dead wrong. Didn't the Alaskan poplulace vote to eliminate aerial wolf gunning at one time?

Sorry, but modern day wildlife management 101 (ecosystem diversity), which includes non-consumptive users, will prevail in Alaska.

Hunt
0
Points
Hunt 02/04/12 - 09:52 pm
0
0
ak nature guy

Ok first off you know nothing about whats going on here. Moose have always been gettting hit by cars around here. It has never put a dent in there over all population!. This is Alaska not San Diego! What are you going to do build a tunnel from Anchorage to Soldotna? Get real dude, and decreasing the speed limit? are you serious? good luck with that one. Not only will it not work, but it will never happen. The state has cleard the trees and brush back away from most major highways if you havent noticed. I have lived in alaska most of my life and have never hit a moose because I am a very cautious driver and use a little common sense, however it does happen especially when we have heavy snowfall. Theres not a lot you can do to change it either.
Obviously your an illiterate tree hugger that never goes out into the woods except to take a picture of a pretty moose or squirell. I am not defending Spraker at all, I probly dislike him more than you do. He is the reason we are in this mess to begin with. The habitat is not the problem, we have had two major fires in recent years around Tustamena lake and in the Caribou hills. It is now an excellent habitat for moose and every other animal, but theres no moose to be found!! Not even a small percentage of what there used to be. You wouldn't know that though because you obviously have never spent any time there or anywhere else off the road system.
What I am seeing is an over population of brown bears and wolves. I have the pictures to prove it! Ask any pilot that has been flying around locally for years and he will tell you the same. What are you going to say when there's no more moose left and you have bears chasing your kids home from the bus stop? I have news for you, there was several bears in town this year around the schools and our kids were deffinatley not safe to walk home because of this. Bears have always been around but without proper management they have now became way over populated and will continue to do so along with the wolves untill something is done. Dont try and say we are in there back yard either! This town has been here for a long time and has never had the bear problems we do today. It's not because people leave there garbage outside either. That has always been done also. Bears dont want to come around people or eat garbage, but they have no choice cause there running out of food and have way to much competition because of the severe number of bears. How about you do some reasearch. Look at the steadily increasing number of DLP's on the Kenai over the last ten years. That means only one thing, to many bears all due to Spraker and a number he pulled out of his ass and gave to the government years ago which shut the bear hunting down. He had no data to back it up either and still to this date has no idea how many bears and wolves there are now.

The Feds do because they did a survey and collected hair DNA samples two years ago on the refuge. However most of them are tree huggers like you and they wont release the numbers of there findings to the public or fish and game!! Knowing we have a problem here and refusing to help sort it out. I have had a couple dealings with them and am not impressed with Chris Johnson or Rob Barto. They are a useless waste of our hard earned tax dollars, and an embarasment to our state for allowing them to stay employed.

As far as the wolves go there are way to many. I agree there needs to be some but they have gotten out of control and there is a lot more of them than fish and game can see from the air.

This is all a result of poor management not poor habitat. I dont want to kill all the bears and wolves by no means. There is always going to be hunting and human interaction with wildlife and because of that, animals along with hunters need to be properly managed to conserve the wildlife for future generations.

You (aknatureguy) need to take you ignorant, Obama loving ass back to California and keep your nose out of stuff that you know nothing about! Mr. Hoskins you should go with him, you also need to shut your pie hole your making yourself look very ignorant!

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 02/05/12 - 09:38 am
0
0
Fence

2/5/12 Super Bowl Sunday
I know a solution ! We could build a 12 Ft High FENCE stretching all the way from Cooper Landing to the Homer Spit
Why that shouldn't Cost That much ? Just add the cost onto the Hunting License. Hunters wouldn't object to that Would They ?

That Fence would solve the Road Kill Problem then there would be more than enough Moose to Harvest.

There is alot of ranting & raving about the Moose Harvest
& Everyone seems to be a Expert about Moose.
Where are the Solutions & Answers ?

Kinda like the Natural Gas PipeLine, Lots of TALK but
No ACTION.

SPW

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 02/05/12 - 11:41 am
0
0
Fence-YES

Yes, SPW, fencing high risk areas would result in a significant number of fewer moose road deaths. Spraker says most of the moose are killed on the roads within 17 miles of Soldotna. Not that much fencing!

If you'll take 5 minutes on Google, you'll see that this is exactly what other States are doing to prevent highway moose deaths; along with under/over passes. Just like Richard Hoskins describes above in Canada. As a matter of fact, the State of Maine works hand-in-hand with Maine F&G, DOT and Audubon in fencing areas and constructing over/under passes.

The current corrupt political ideology of the current administration is bent on killing or destroying something to resolve the issue.

Just look at HUNT above. He wants to kill the bears because they are eating his children. Wouldn't it just be much easier for him to move down to California. I haven't seen too many bears or wolves down this way lately.

Hunt
0
Points
Hunt 02/05/12 - 08:13 pm
0
0
aknatureguy

Your not going to see wovles either! There not dumb enough to come around people. If you dont think we have a bear and wolf problem then you are as ignorant as you seem and once again dont have a clue what your talking about. I can tell you right now we do have a problem with both bears and wolves and it needs to be fixed. Putting up a fence will not help our moose populatoin, it might stop some from getting killed on the roads. It will not fix the predator problem we have.. If you do a little research on unit 16 and see what happend there you might understand but I doubt it. They let the predators get way out of control because of tree huggers like you. So there was no moose left what happend next fixed the problem. Guess what that was?? PREDATOR CONTROL!! Normal hunting allows the hunter to shoot and harvest the animal, when they do an emergency order like they did, there was no limit on bears or wolves and they didn't even have to be salvaged!

Now what would you rather have? Havested legally or left to rot? One way or they other it will eventually happen because human lives are at stake now and it"s due to poor management and tree huggers like you getting involved in things they know nothing about. Come on over I'll take you out in my front yard and let you play with one of the ten foot bears that ware chasing people and there horses around last summer in my neighbor hood. I also believe that Fish and Game should be held liable when a bear kills some one because they allowed it to get this far out of control and did nothing for so long.
Thankfully most people around here are aware of whats going on so they are packing guns and have been able to defend themselves so far. I hope you end up like Tredwell he was one of your kind look where it got him hahahaha he is deffinatley one with the bears now!

woodwise
0
Points
woodwise 02/06/12 - 12:18 pm
0
0
whose responsibility to manage for who and how?

fish907 - there is just one thing that you people can't seem to get through your skull. The Kenai refuge IS NOT required to manage for moose Alaska style. That is not to say that they are unwilling to manage habitat through fire. They are, but do you have any idea what the politics surrounding fire entail on the Kenai? Ask around down there and see how many are willing to tolerate the smoke. Ask around and see how many call the fire squads in to put out the tiniest blaze lest it raze their summer home. Likewise ask around and see how many would blame the refuge if a fire they allowed to burn got out of control . Ask the administrators at Ted Stevens International and ask them how willing they are to have smoke blotting out the sky. You think predator control is contentious. Well fire management may be just as contentious. As far as mechanical manipulation. I for one don't want hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to go into growing a few hundred moose for hunters. In these economic times - or any times for that matter - such funds are better spent elsewhere.

bigtalkahh
184
Points
bigtalkahh 02/08/12 - 10:07 am
0
0
Hunt

Hunt cannot see the forest through the trees. He talks like he has a scientific background but his writing skills show me he ain't as bright as he thinks he is. Does he have any credentials? Anything?

akmscott
131
Points
akmscott 02/08/12 - 04:32 pm
0
0
Hey-this country can't even

Hey-this country can't even build a fence to keep drug runners and undesirables out on our southern border!You really think they wlii build a massive fence for moose?

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 02/08/12 - 08:21 pm
0
0
akmscott

Hey akmscott............obviously, Alaska won't build a very small fence to protect the moose from vechile collisions or they would have done so. It will take more intelligent people moving up here from the outside to get any science based wildlife management into place.

Akmscott, do you have any idea what you are talking about? Obviously not. I guess you are referring to a fence along the thousands of miles of Mexican boarder? A fence; as well as under/over passes, for moose would just need to be constructed in relatively small areas where collisions are the highest. Spraker says this is within 17 miles of Soldotna. Fences could also be constructed near Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley.

Other States are doing it. Why can't the good ole cowboys in Alaska do it. After all, the Parnell administration is pro-development. They should love to take on a projcet like this.

Since the big game hunters are the main persons who want this, tack a few thousand dollars to each moose tag to help pay for the fencing. I am sure all the major vehicle insurance companies would donate big $$$$ also.

akmscott
131
Points
akmscott 02/09/12 - 05:23 pm
0
0
AKNATUREGUY, You sound like

AKNATUREGUY,
You sound like the guy-you know it all!

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