The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, despite the “work from home” mandate most state employees are under, has been busy the past two weeks issuing several news releases and advisory announcements about both wildlife and fisheries items. Let’s look at some of the game division releases first.
Back on March 27, the department issued an announcement instructing the public to register bear baiting stations remotely, rather than going to an ADF&G office. Starting this past April 1, folks were told to call their local fish and game office and verbally register their bear baiting station(s). Having the GPS coordinates of the site will greatly speed the process. Hunters must verbally agree to the conditions of the permit. The permit will be emailed or snail-mailed to the person registering the site.
This is a temporary measure because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Allow mailed permits several days to arrive. Remember, you may not place bait at your site(s) until you have received your permit.
On April 2, a follow-up announcement from the Commissioner of Fish and Game was released to clarify the Governor’s announcement from the previous day. The original announcement closed all bear hunting in Alaska through May 31. Resident Alaskans made an outcry that was heard by Fish and Game. The follow-up letter from the Commissioner clarified that all non-resident bear hunting was closed, while resident Alaskans were free to go hunting, but are required to abide by all issued health mandates, including social distancing and intrastate travel mandates.
The 14-day mandatory quarantine for anyone coming into Alaska already basically eliminated nonresident hunters. Specific to intrastate travel for residents, all instate travel between communities is prohibited unless travel is necessary to support critical infrastructure, or for critical personal needs. General hunting has not been identified as a critical personal need.
The next three news releases and advisory announcements were all made available on April 3. The first asks folks to be careful around moose this time of year. The announcement states, “Moose, in general, can be more aggravated during the late winter and early spring due to stress from poor quality feed and being in poor body condition….Moose tend to be more aggressive around food sources…and want to stay in areas with less snow, such as roads, ski trails, sidewalks, driveways, and yards.”
When you are outside, be aware of your surroundings and avoid getting too close to moose. If you’re recreating in the Palmer Hays Flats, in addition to moose, be aware of the following construction mentioned next.
This press release, dated April 3, states, “Public access to Rabbit Slough and Wasilla Creek in the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge will be temporarily disrupted this spring as ADF&G works to upgrade the boat launch facility. The boat launch and parking lot closest to the launch will be closed to public access for the duration of the project, which is currently underway and expected to wrap up by mid-May. The second parking lot located approximately 100 yards from launch will remain open for public parking and safe pedestrian and bike routes around the construction site will be provided.”
The final update announcement deals with next year’s Board of Game schedule. I mentioned a month or so ago that the 2020/2021 BOG schedule included all game related matters for the southcentral area immediately surrounding us, namely, game management units 13, 14A, 14B, and 16. Units 9, 10, 11, and 17 are also included for this cycle of meetings.
The original call for proposals deadline for this meeting was May 1, 2020. That deadline has been pushed back to May 15, 2020. Your proposal can be submitted online, by email, mail, or fax. Because of the pandemic, the public is asked not to hand deliver proposals to fish and game offices. Proposals must be received by Friday, May 15, 2020 at the Boards Support Section office in Juneau. A postmark is not sufficient for timely receipt.
On the fisheries end of things, two press releases were put out on March 23: one dealing with new regulations for Anchorage area sport fisheries and the other for North Gulf Coast area sport fisheries. The Anchorage release deals with changes in releasing northern pike in the Anchorage area and changes made in the Ship Creek Youth-Only fishery.
The North Gulf Coast area changes involve handling northern pike, a new aquatic plants personal use fishery, and the Seward Lagoon and Outfall Stream Youth-Only fishery. Check the 2020 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishery Regulations Summary booklet for details.