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Winds become a problem for bison hunters

Posted: Thursday, February 22, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Cold weather usually is one of the biggest obstacles for hunters who draw a permit to shoot a Delta bison.

That hasn't been the case this winter. High winds have been the primary problem for hunters this season.

''Usually it's cold and dark that makes it hard,'' said wildlife biologist Steve DuBois at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Delta Junction. ''This year, it's wind and dark.

''This has been the windiest winter I can remember,'' said DuBois, who has been in Delta for 15 years. ''It's been blowing all winter.''

As a result, the Delta bison harvest is about normal. So far, the 100 permit holders have killed 65 to 70 bison, which is average for this stage in the hunt, DuBois said.

The season opened Oct. 10 and closes March 31. Typically, about 90 percent of permit holders harvest a bison.

''We've gone through the normal pattern,'' he said. ''It's been pretty slow lately. There's some people out there but they've been having a lot of trouble finding bison ...''

About a half-dozen hunters still must undergo a mandatory orientation to qualify for the hunt, DuBois said.

There are an estimated 400 bison in the herd, which spends the winter wandering between the Delta Agricultural Project and Delta Bison Range.

''Small groups of them will start moving to the Delta River in late February and early March,'' DuBois said. ''Most of the herd stays in the ag project or on the bison range through the end of the season.''

This season's hunt hasn't produced any trophy book bison, DuBois said.

''There's been a couple of nice ones but no record breakers,'' he said.

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(Distributed by The Associated Press)



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