State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2002

Fortymile caribou herd extends range

FAIRBANKS - The Fortymile Caribou Herd crossed the Taylor Highway this year for the first time in many years, and hunters harvested more than 100 caribou over the Labor Day weekend near the roadway.

More than 40,000 of the herd's estimated 45,000 animals moved into Unit 20E during the first four weeks of the fall season, said Tok area biologist Craig Gardner of the state Department of Fish and Game.

Some of those animals crossed the Taylor Highway near O'Brien Creek, something the herd hasn't done in 50 or 60 years, Gardner said.

The movement is another sign that the growing Fortymile herd, which has doubled in size in the last eight years and is now the largest caribou herd in the Interior, is expanding its range.

The big harvest prompted Fish and Game and the federal Bureau of Land Management to close one of three fall hunting seasons for the Fortymile herd because biologists expect hunters to surpass the harvest quota.

Registration permit hunt RC865 in Game Management 20E east of Tok closed at midnight Friday. With the reported take at 320 caribou on Wednesday and some hunters still in the field, biologist Gardner said the harvest would probably exceed the quota of 355 caribou set for the hunt.

Anchorage goose-controls succeeding

ANCHORAGE - Efforts to reduce the number of Canada geese in Anchorage have succeeded, according to the state Department of Fish and Game. Biologists estimate the Anchorage goose population is now 1,508, a big decline from its peak of 4,838 back in July 1996.

An Air Force AWACS plane crashed in 1995 after hitting several geese. The crash killed all 24 on the plane.

But in 1997, the flock still produced 793 goslings. That number was cut to just 213 new geese this year, biologists said.

Part of the reduction came because volunteers were allowed to collect as many as 500 eggs each year. The eggs were donated to the Alaska Native Elders program.

Control measures also included moving young geese to the Susitna Flats State Game Refuge. In addition, a 1998 working group recommended that airports start shooting geese around the runways, rather than just hazing them.

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