Deer hunting season for Juneau and Ketchikan residents closes Dec. 31. Those living in rural areas outside of Juneau and Ketchikan will be allowed to hunt until Jan. 31 on Southeast federal lands within units 2 and 4.
Successful hunters must submit hunt reports to ADF&G within 15 days after harvesting the bag limit. All hunters who obtained deer harvest tickets, even those who did not hunt, must return completed hunt reports to ADF&G within 15 days after the close of the season in which they are qualified to hunt.
Anecdotal indications are that Sitka black tail deer hunting season went well, Alaska Department of Fish & Game biologist Stephanie Sell said, though it will be difficult to gauge the health of Juneau area deer populations until ADF&G receives hunt reports and deer harvest tickets.
“It’s hard to tell because we always have a lag,” Sell said. “Usually, we don’t have any information until people get harvest tickets back. … For the most part what I am hearing is that people have been doing pretty well, but that’s just anecdotal.”
The federal subsistence deer season for federally-qualified subsistence users continues on federal lands in units 2 and 4 until Jan. 31, 2018, unless closed earlier by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) District Rangers. Federally-qualified subsistence users must obtain a valid 2018 hunting license to continue hunting in January. Deer harvest tickets issued for the regulatory year 2017 continue to be valid for the federal season extending through Jan. 31.
Hunters must be aware of the land ownership where they are hunting as state lands close Dec. 31 to all hunters, whether rural or urban (Juneau and Ketchikan are the two urban areas in Southeast). Hunters targeting deer on beaches should be aware that state land ownership extends up to the mean high tide line.
It can be a little confusing sometimes, Sell said, so it’s important to remember that residents of Juneau and Ketchikan can’t continue to hunt anywhere in Southeast after Dec. 31, even if one travels to a rural area to hunt. Juneau residents, for instance, can’t fire up a skiff to travel to federal lands on Admiralty Island to hunt in January.
Contact the Douglas ADF&G office at 465-4265 for questions about state deer hunting season. Direct questions about federal subsistence hunting to the Federal Subsistence Management Program at the U.S. Department of the Interior at www.doi.gov/subsistence. Hunt reports can be filed online at hunt.alaska.gov.
Clarification: Federal subsistence hunts for deer from Dec. 31-Jan. 31 exist only in units 2 (Prince of Wales) and 4 (Baranof, Chichigof and Admiralty islands), not on all federal lands in Southeast.
• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.