The season for does and bucks will open on Sunday, Sept. 15 for a portion of Game Management Unit 1 -- Unit 1C to be exact, which encompasses Douglas, Lincoln, Shelter and Sullivan islands. Unit 4, which includes the Northeast Chichagof Controlled Use Area, will also open.
The season for both units is scheduled to run through Tuesday, Dec. 31.
As many know, the winter of 2006 blanketed Southeast Alaska in deep snows that caused many casualties in regional deer populations. It’s taken years for deer numbers to recover, biologists have reported, and some areas are still under close watch. According to a release from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game this week, there are a few areas in Unit 4 that have seen considerable success with recovery.
Yet, there is still work to do. To continue to manage the status of the population in Unit 4, a deer check station will be located on the Hoonah road system to collect biological information (age, sex, and physical condition) from harvested deer, as well as hunter effort information. The aim of the check station is to help monitor doe harvest, since the population in the northern area of Chichagof Island has recovered at a slower rate than the
remainder of GMU 4.
Areas south of Tenakee Inlet show considerable increases in the deer population, based on deer browsing evidence observed by ADF&G researchers, and hunters are encouraged to add does to their harvest this year said ADF&G biologist Ryan Scott in an interview earlier this season. Although the unit experienced another late spring green-up, little evidence of winter kill was found, the release stated. While the green-up was delayed, a lack of deep snow allowed deer access to browse. Above-normal summer temperatures resulted in good plant growth and availability throughout the unit, as well.
GMU 4 deer populations have traditionally rebounded after hard winters and can reach the point where they exceed the long term carrying capacity of the habitat. A higher prevalence of twin fawns and yearlings, observed during fieldwork over the few years, also supports the need to harvest some does to slow the population growth, the release stated.
As always, hunters must have deer harvest tickets and a valid hunting license in their possession while hunting. Harvest tickets must be validated in sequential order and unused tickets must be carried while hunting. All hunters are required to submit a deer harvest report within 15 days of taking the bag limit, or 15 days after the close of the season, even if you did not hunt. In all hunts limited to one sex, evidence of sex must remain naturally attached to the meat or antlers must remain naturally attached to the entire carcass, with or without viscera.
- Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the taking of does on the mainland of Unit 1, was permitted. This is not allowed, according to ADF&G regulations. Only bucks may be hunted and taken. For more detailed information go online to http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildliferegulations.hunting.