The salmon are starting to show in numbers in the Valley’s rivers and streams. Pinks are being caught all over, along with some chums. Coho and sockeye are showing in lesser numbers, but the peak for them is still a few weeks off. I plan to get out and take advantage since my fishing days have been somewhat restricted the last couple of years.
Andy Couch’s column has the what, when, and where of salmon fishing well summarized. We’re going to go a different direction in this column – hunting season!
Let’s start with caribou. Most of those seasons open Aug. 10 in this general area, but a couple will be opening on Aug. 1. Drawing permit hunt YC495 in Game Management Unit 13 runs Aug. 1 to 5. Quoting from an ADF&G hunting announcement regarding other caribou permit hunts, “ State Caribou Registration permit hunt, RC503, in Game Management Units 9A, 9B, 9C, 17A, 17B, 17C, 18, 19A and 19B, will open at 12:00 am on August 1, 2020 with a reduced season and bag limit; and State Caribou Registration permit hunt RC501 for the Nushagak Peninsula herd will not be offered this year.”
Continuing, “ Permits for RC503 will be available online, in person at ADF&G offices in Anchorage, Bethel, Dillingham, Fairbanks, Homer, King Salmon, McGrath, Palmer, Soldotna, and at license vendors within the hunt area beginning Monday, July 20, 2020. Hunters are encouraged to go online to get permits to reduce personal contact in offices.”
A second announcement for GMU 13 begins, “Resident caribou hunters in GMU 13 will be able to harvest a caribou of either sex this hunting season.” ADF&G stated the bag limit of one caribou is for all Unit 13 state-managed resident caribou hunts (RC561, RC562, CC001, DC485, and YC495). The bag limit for DC475 remains one bull.
Something you need to be aware of if you plan to hunt GMU 13 for caribou this fall, “The Board (Federal Subsistence) approved WSA20-03 with modification. WSA20-03 requested that the Board close Federal public lands in Unit 13 to the hunting of moose and caribou by non-Federally qualified users for the 2020/21 season. The Board approved a closure in Units 13A and 13B only for the 2020-2022 regulatory cycle due to its necessity for reasons of public safety and continuation of subsistence uses.”
Continuing, “The Board limited the closure to Units 13A and 13B because this is the area where most overcrowding, disruption of hunts, and serious safety concerns have occurred. The Board extended the request to the 2021/22 regulatory year because a regulatory proposal would not become effective until July 1, 2022 and to reduce the administrative burden associated with processing additional requests.” This wording was taken from a posting on the US Department of the Interior, Federal Subsistence Management Program webpage.
I am not well versed on federal subsistence details in Alaska. Therefore, I would recommend that, if you have questions or concerns about this federal action, you should contact ADF&G and/or the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Subsistence Management Program for an explanation of what this regulation means.
In other hunting and trapping news, ADF&G has announced the opening of lynx hunting and trapping seasons in GMU 14C and the opening of lynx trapping season in GMU’s 7 and 15 for the 2020-2021 regulatory year. Lynx hunting and trapping has been closed in Unit 14C since 2014 due to low population estimates. Lynx hunting in units 7 and 15 has been open since 2015, but trapping has been closed since 2014.
The bow-and-arrow hunting season for moose in units 14A and 14B begins on Aug. 10 and runs through Aug. 17. Since I have the state exemption allowing the use of a crossbow during the archery season because of my shoulder, I’m hoping to get out and at least do some looking around this year. I was able to install some upgrades on my crossbow which I mentioned in an earlier column.
For small game which have closed seasons, the opening happens on Aug. 10 in surrounding GMU’s (units 13, 14, 15, and 16). I plan to get out and chase some grouse, ptarmigan, and snowshoe hares using, among other hunting tools, my 25-caliber air rifle. I took a grouse out of the top of a large spruce tree a couple of seasons ago and the shot was just as effective as if I had used a 22-caliber rifle.
Fall is my favorite time of year. Enjoy your hunts!