2016 Unit 2 wolf harvest quota announced
August 25, 2016
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service currently manage wolves on Prince of Wales and associated islands, collectively known as Game Management Unit 2 (GMU 2), for an annual harvest not to exceed 20 percent of the most recent unit-wide population estimate as required by regulation. Our primary goal for managing wolves in GMU 2 is to ensure a population that provides opportunity for a sustainable harvest. While legal harvest is only one of several factors influencing wolf numbers in Unit 2, it is the one that managers can control as we continue wolf research activities.
According to a U.S. Forest Service news release, unlike elsewhere in Alaska where wolf numbers can be estimated from aircraft, the dense forest cover across Southeast Alaska makes that method impossible. Therefore, ADF&G researchers with support from the Forest Service calculate the total number of wolves based on a DNA mark-recapture technique on a large northcentral Prince of Wales Island study area. Data collected from October through December 2015 (fall 2015) resulted in a GMU 2-wide population estimate of 108 wolves, with a possible range of 69 on the low end, to 167 wolves on the upper end. This is the most current population estimate.
The fall 2015 population estimate of 108 is higher than the 2014 estimate (89 wolves), indicating that the number of wolves in GMU 2 is no longer declining and may have increased. We believe this result supports continuing with the management strategy used last year.
ADF&G and the Forest Service will set the total 2016 harvest quota at 11 wolves. Similar to 2015, that number is 20 percent of the fall 2015 population estimate minus a 50 percent reduction to account for any other human-caused mortality.
The Game Management Unit 2 wolf hunting and trapping seasons for federally qualified subsistence users on Federal lands open on Sept. 1 and Nov. 15, respectively. State wolf hunting and trapping seasons in GMU 2 open on Dec. 1. The length of the state seasons will depend on the number of wolves taken during the Federal hunting and trapping seasons. The state season will be shortened or closed if harvest from the earlier Federal seasons approaches 11 wolves.
Game Management Unit 2
Reporting & Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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