black tail die-off in Alaska

Dr.Swat

New Member
Feb 24, 2013
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Anchorage had an all-time record snow fall during the winter of 2010-11 (last winter). Does anyone have accurate information on deer winter kill in the state?
 

AKaviator

Veteran member
Jul 26, 2012
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Anchorage Alaska
Last winter was brutal on the deer population. Some areas of Kodiak are reporting 80% loss. There are some proposals to reduce the bag limits and shorten the seasons, but those won't be voted on until the 18th of March. It's pretty well documented that the hunting effort doesn't really effect the population of deer here but reducing the hunting might aid in a quicker recovery. These die-offs have happened before and the deer manage to come back okay, at least on Kodiak where there are no wolves.

The deer population in South East Alaska is down somewhat too. There is a couple wolf reduction plans that might be authorized to help a couple of island deer populations recover...to be addressed at the March 18th time frame also. The wolves there do seem to have a significant impact and have turned to killing black bears in the absence of deer.

Give me a couple weeks and I can give a better update if you are still curious.
 

T.S. Allen

Member
Aug 19, 2012
108
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Wyoming
AKaviator,

That is really an incredible thing. A little hard to wrap my head around the thought of wolves taking out bears. Keep me updated on the wolf hunts. That will be a hunt I would like to know more about.

Thanks again for the great info
 

AKaviator

Veteran member
Jul 26, 2012
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Anchorage Alaska
I'll keep you up to date on the issue. It has been planned as an "intensive management plan" to reduce the wolves from a couple islands, probably by trapping. The plan has been developed but it hasn't been approved for implementation yet. These are considered intensive management issues and would not be available as a sport hunt.

Wouldn't it be something to watch a wolf pack tangle with an adult bear! I've seen them take down adult moose but never even thought of them taking a bear on! It's happening though.
 

alaska2go

Active Member
Oct 20, 2012
233
57
Palmer, AK
I'll keep you up to date on the issue. It has been planned as an "intensive management plan" to reduce the wolves from a couple islands, probably by trapping. The plan has been developed but it hasn't been approved for implementation yet. These are considered intensive management issues and would not be available as a sport hunt.

Wouldn't it be something to watch a wolf pack tangle with an adult bear! I've seen them take down adult moose but never even thought of them taking a bear on! It's happening though.
I have killed a black bear on the bait late @ night to come back the next day kicking wolves off the carcuss to find it ravaged. So i believe they kill bears..
 

Ikeepitcold

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 22, 2011
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Reno Nv
I'll keep you up to date on the issue. It has been planned as an "intensive management plan" to reduce the wolves from a couple islands, probably by trapping. The plan has been developed but it hasn't been approved for implementation yet. These are considered intensive management issues and would not be available as a sport hunt.

Wouldn't it be something to watch a wolf pack tangle with an adult bear! I've seen them take down adult moose but never even thought of them taking a bear on! It's happening though.

I was just thinking the same thing. That would be cool to see!
 

markhunts

New Member
Feb 3, 2013
32
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Utah
I'm not sure what the numbers would be on the Blacktail "Dieoff" but we hunted Sitka's on Kodiak during Thanksgiving 2011. It was incredible! That was the 2nd time I've been there, and the deer numbers were unbelievable. We had a VERY successful hunt and a great time. I'm not sure what happened after Thanksgiving for the rest of the winter. Hopefully it wasn't too extreme on the deer. I do know that the Captain of our transport boat said that the snow down to the shoreline, was only the 2nd time he'd seen it that deep in 22 years of transporting. It made for a great hunt for us, but hopefully not too bad on the deer.
 

AKaviator

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Jul 26, 2012
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Anchorage Alaska
I promised an update...The wolf control programs were authorized in S.E. Alaska. If Fish and Game goes forward with the plans, they will hire trappers that are experts at catching wolves in the required way. They make sets near the tideline and tidal pools.

The Sitka deer on Kodiak were reported to be down by 50% overall. The proposals to reduce the bag limits did not pass as the hunting effort there really doesn't have a large impact on the population. It may make them recover a little slower though.

An interesting report is that the brown bear population on the Kenai Peninsula is well over double what had been thought to exist. They have increased the harvest guidelines for the area (70) and will allow brown bears to be shot over bait stands ( you have to salvage the meat for human consumption however). The median number of bears on the Kenai is around 650, but everybody agrees that number is very conservative. It very well could be close to 1000.

These are the "good 'ol days" for bears up here!
 

AKaviator

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Jul 26, 2012
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Anchorage Alaska
The numbers were estimated from the entire over-winter die off. I don't know how much snow Kodiak got last winter but Anchorage had over 134" and much of it came late; Feb-Mar-Apr, so I guess Kodiak was similar. Fish and Game has never done an accurate survey for the total numbers of deer there so it's an educated guess on the reduction. Most of the guides that I've talked to agree with the numbers and some estimate the die-off at closer to 80%. Kodiak itself is tough to do an accurate survey on and because the Sitka deer are an introduced species, not indigenous, Fish and Game probably won't spend the money to try.

Hunting Kodiak is my favorite hunt up here. They are the best tasting deer I have ever eaten and a blast to hunt. I hope they recover quick. This has been an easy winter so far (but I just shoveled about a foot of snow out of my driveway!).
 

dihardhunter

Active Member
Jul 27, 2012
170
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Columbus, OH
www.skinnymoose.com
Yea, I've been keeping close tabs on snowfall, etc. for Kodiak this winter and it has really been mild compared to historical averages. Hoping some late blizzard doesn't do some damage and the deer can get a kickstart. I'm thinking I'll give them 2013 to hopefully recover a tad more, and then go hunt in 2014.
 

dihardhunter

Active Member
Jul 27, 2012
170
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Columbus, OH
www.skinnymoose.com
I think it's time to resurrect this thread and hear what anyone has to say. I kept up with Kodiak's weather on a daily basis this winter and I'm no expert on Alaskan weather, but it looked to be a very mild season compared to some of the prior years. Confirm, deny? Another mild 2013-2014 winter and Kodiak fall 2014 will be on my calendar.
 

AKaviator

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Jul 26, 2012
1,460
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Anchorage Alaska
Dihard,

I talked yesterday with a hunting guide/ friend that lives and guides on Kodiak. He said that in his area he believes they have lost almost all the fawns and the older large bucks from last years winter. They are missing those two age classes but are seeing plenty of forked horn and young 3 points bucks.

Other areas of the island are worse, especially the east and south-east sections, where some guys are reporting almost no deer at all.

Kodiak had a mild enough winter and a good spring so far. He isn't excited about his prospects of finding big bucks this fall but has high hopes for next year or the year after, with good weather.

I won't be hunting there this year, unless I feel the need to try for a goat. We up-ed the limit to 2 for them.
 

dihardhunter

Active Member
Jul 27, 2012
170
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Columbus, OH
www.skinnymoose.com
'AKaviator' - great update. I knew the big boys and young'uns had taken a pounding from the 2011-2012 winter and am hoping for a couple more mild winters to string together before I tackle Kodiak for the 1st time. We have been looking hard at the southwestern interior portion of the island. That is unbelievable (and awesome) that there is a place on earth where the limit for mountain goats is 2! I would absolutely love to do that hunt but at this stage in life, it's just a tad too rich for me. Unfortunately, the escalation of hunting costs/prices are rising slightly (tongue in cheek) higher than the rate of inflation. In other words, probably never going to hunt goats, but I'll have fun thinking about it.