Alaska Deer News

...  the largest intact old-growth temperate rain forest in the world... crucial habitat for the Alexander Archipelago wolf, which is being considered for Endangered Species Act listing, and the Sitka blacktailed deer ... "Without enough old-growth winter habitat in the forest for shelter, deer populations plummet during deep-snow winters," said Gabriel Scott, Cascadia Wildlands' Alaska legal director...

... The timber sale project area covers more than 200,000 acres on Prince of Wales Island close to Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove...  there will be so much deer habitat lost ... Multiple Alaskan and national conservation groups have called this scale of cutting of old-growth forest irresponsible...

Forest Service upholds Big Thorne decision August 23, 2014 Alaska, Ktoo
...    on Prince of Wales Island close to Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove. The proposed harvests would include more than 6,000 acres of old-growth forest, and more than 2,000 acres of second-growth... Southeast Alaska Conservation Council ... is concerned about the cumulative effects of old growth timber harvest on deer populations. He said hunters in the area would see reduced availability...

... Earthjustice also sued to challenge the forest-wide Tongass Land Management Plan, which fails to preserve the old growth trees that provide crucial habitat to numerous species including the Sitka black-tailed deer ... 

Conservation groups file suit over Big Thorne sale August 22, 2014 Alaska, KRBD ·
...  the U.S. Forest Service upheld the decision for the Big Thorne Timber Sale on Prince of Wales Island... Multiple Alaskan and national conservation groups have called this scale of cutting of old-growth forest irresponsible. They are concerned about the impact it will have on wildlife populations – mainly deer and wolves...

Deer outlook, reports positive August 22, 2014 Alaska, m.juneauempire.com
...   than three weeks into Southeast Alaska’s Sitka black-tailed deer season ...  it appears deer are recovering from a harsh 2006-2007 winter... ADF&G’s spring survey of deer pellets on Douglas Island, which predict a general year-to-year trend, indicate the island’s population is a little lower than last season ... 

Family Went out Looking for Whales, but Rescued Four Drowning Deer Instead! (PHOTOS) August 14, 2014 Alaska, onegreenplanet.org 
... While the way these four juvenile deer found their way into the cold waters of Alaska’s Stephens Passageway is unknown, what Satre and Kelly did know was that they were in need of assistance. ... “They swam right up toward the boat…then, started to circle the boat. They were looking up and looked like they needed help.” ...

...The number of pellet groups is recorded for every 20-meter section, called a plot ... last year the pellet index was down 61 percent from 2011 (pre-snowpocolypse), this year it is up 14 percent (relative to 2011). That means the pellet index still about half of what it was before the big winter... Things are getting better but they're not back to normal yet...

... The Center for Biological Diversity and others sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on June 10, accusing the agency of “delaying Endangered Species Act” protection for the Alexander Archipelago wolf... “As the old-growth is logged, there’s less habitat for the deer which means there is less food for the wolves and the hunters,” ...  When the animals sniff out the wooden planks and rub against the wire, they leave strands of fur behind that Alaska researchers collect and ship 1,000 miles away for study at a Montana university for genetics testing...

     We examined slash from thinning treatments in a 21-year chronosequence of young-growth stands in southeast Alaska to determine the strength and persistence of slash effects on two key features of deer habitat quality: forage availability and deer mobility within thinned areas. We describe the main deterioration processes and their dynamics over time. We measured wood density of slash of various ages and present a model to estimate changes in wood density over time. This report also discusses factors that contribute to initial slash loading, slash deterioration, and effects on deer habitat.

... an investigation found that he had used edible meat of a Black Tailed Deer that had been taken illegally and used it to bait his trapline...  ordered to forfeit his traps, and his trapping license was suspended until January 1, 2015 ...

... Two timber sales scheduled by the University of Alaska near the southeast island communities of Petersburg and Kupreanof are stirring up controversy ... both sales occur in high value Sitka black-tail deer winter range. Habitat loss for deer played a large role in the Board of Game s recent decision to reduce nearby Kupreanof s Lindenberg Peninsula deer season to the length of the Mitkof season - the shortest season with the lowest bag limit of anywhere in SE Alaska...

Raven's Return February 27, 2014 Alaska, AnchoragePress.com
... the birth of a baby moose there last spring caused us to break all the rules of wildlife detachment Alaskans are supposed to honor.  And might explain also why many months later, as winter turns slowly to spring again, we look out for the mother and calf as we would search for long lost relatives, our sense of peace and place not quite whole without them. [see video of birth beow]

A moose gives birth in a backyard near Anchorage, Alaska in the spring of 2013. ‎(Video copyright Dirk A. Sisson/used with permission)‎



... Sitka Black Tail Deer are limited by winter habitat. The few remaining patches of quality winter black-tail deer habitat are being targeted in the Forest Service’s old-growth timber sales ... at some point we need to recognize that we have passed a tipping point and we need to move the Tongass focus away from the same-old focus on old growth timber,” said Andrew Thoms, SCS executive director...

Chichagof deer under closer management September 18, 2013 Alaska, Juneau Empire
Harsh winters from 2006 to 2009 on Chichagof Island has taken a toll on the local deer population. The Hoonah Indian Association, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Forest Service are asking hunters to complete surveys ... hunters are also encourage to bring the head or the jaw of the deer they’ve hunted so biologists can determine it’s actual age...

Deer season looking up for Unit 1C August 9, 2013 Alaska, .Juneau Empire 
... Douglas and Shelter islands, as well as the Juneau mainland and some surrounding areas...  the positive outlook is based on spring deer pellet surveys conducted in April and May, as well as from anecdotal information and direct observations... the surveys have been conducted for so many years, it’s easy to identify a trend line... the department doesn’t know how many deer are on Douglas or Shelter islands ... they are working on a process to estimate the number of deer in an area by using DNA that’s collected from the pellets.

BC Lake, MR Bertram, N Guldager, JR Caikoski… Journal of Wildlife Management, 2013
...  Prey composition was primarily adult females (39%) and young-of-the-year (35%). We attribute an elevated kill rate in early winter to predation on more vulnerable young-of-the-year. Kill rates in our study were similar to those from other studies where moose occurred at greater densities. We suggest that very few, if any, wolf–moose systems in Alaska and the Yukon experience a density-dependent phase in the functional response, and instead wolves respond numerically to changes in moose density or availability in the absence of alternative prey. Through a numerical response, wolf predation rates may approximate the annual growth potential of the moose population, contributing to persistent low densities of moose and wolves on the Yukon Flats

Deer harvest reporting is past-due April 19, 2013 Alaska, Juneau Empire 
... In 2011, The Alaska Department of Fish and Game switched from a harvest survey to a harvest report for deer ... The information hunters provide helps ... monitor populations, and recommend appropriate seasons and bag limits...

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Data: Sitka black-tailed deer,related to mule deer, were originally found only in Southeast Alaska.  Between 1987 and 2007 the harvest averaged about 12,330.  Periodic severe winters can significantly reduce the population.  Deer populations are still down in some areas from the severe winters of 2012 and 2006-07.

Alaska DNR News

Other useful links:
- Sitka Conservation Society
Grow More Moose
- Girdwood-based Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
- Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game
- Alaska Hunting Regulations

Mission Statement: To protect, maintain, and improve the fish, game, and aquatic plant resources of the state, and manage their use and development in the best interest of the economy and the well-being of the people of the state, consistent with the sustained yield principle.


Sitka Deer Habitat and Study with Radio Collar