KODIAK (AP) -- Wildlife biologists are predicting that the Kodiak Archipelago deer season will be more successful this year compared to last when there was a substantial die-off.
The season began Tuesday with hopes high.
''It will definitely be better than last year. I can't say it will be much better, but I can say it will be better,'' said subsistence wildlife biologist Robert Stovall of the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge. ''Flying around the last couple of weeks, I've seen plenty of does and fawns, and some bucks.''
The mild winter did not force the deer to concentrate at overwintering sites along the coast, he said.
Larry VanDaele, Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist, agreed.
''This was a good year,'' he said.
VanDaele said in January and February the deer were able to move higher up the ridges and expand their range. He also said they are in better condition this year.
The number of bucks taken last season dropped from the five-year average of 6,771 to 2,742 in 1999-2000. The number of does dropped from 1,831 to 923. The total harvest dropped from the five-year average of 8,602 to 3,665 last season.
Last fall, the Kodiak Fish and Game Advisory Committee discussed lowering the bag limit, but decided against it because most hunters only take two of a possible four deer in most areas, said committee chairman Oliver Holm.
The best hunting last year was found on the south end of the island on the Aliulik Peninsula, and the worst was on the south side of Ugak Bay, VanDaele said.
This year's season runs from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31 and allows four deer to be taken, except in the Kodiak road system area where hunting ends Nov. 14 and the bag limit is one deer.
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