Moose hunters are gearing up for the 2017 hunting season with the moose opener Friday. Jason Herreman, wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, says there are new regulations hunters need to be aware of before heading out on their hunt.
“We do have a new regulation this year that folks need to take an orientation for judging moose beforehand,” he explained. “That can be found online. [It’s] a series of questions with photos judging size for moose”
Those with limited computer and internet access can take the 15-minute test at Fish and Game offices. Herreman also had this reminder to prevent people from shooting undersized animals.
“The big thing is to take a second look and be patient out there before you pull the trigger. We have folks shoot undersized animals every year,” he said. “Sometimes it’s because what they think is a spike is a fork, because there’s an extra point sitting on it they didn’t see.”
Fish and Game suggests estimating the size of a moose's antlers from tip to tip. If it looks like there's at least 50 inches between them, it should be safe to shoot. In the event that you do kill an undersized animal, it’s best to let Fish and Game know directly.
“If a guy does make a mistake and shoots an undersized animal, the best policy is just be upfront about it, bring it down to the office, do a self turn-in, and that makes it easier for all of us,” Herreman said.
This year’s moose season runs from September 1 through the 25. Alaska residents in Game Management Area 15, stretching from the northwestern corner of the peninsula to Homer, will be able to take one moose. However, regulations do vary throughout the management area, so check the book before you head out.
Correction: A previous version of this story had an error for estimating legal moose and for season opening and closing. There should be at least 50 inches between each tip of a moose's antlers. The season runs Sept. 1 through Sept. 25.