Alaska Deer News

Deer, elk seasons open for Petersburg-Wrangell areas August 6, 2015 Alaska, wrangellsentinel.com
...  In 2013, around 800 hunters reported harvesting 476 deer, down from 852 in 2003.  Deer populations on islands in the area have lately been at around half of what they had been a decade ago ... deer populations may see slight improvements this season due to a largely snow-free winter ...

Deer hunting season opens Saturday, Aug. 1 July 31, 2015 Alaska, Juneau Empire 
... with good fawn production and very little, if any, winter mortality. Aerial surveys have observed hundreds of deer in the alpine areas in the month of July. Because of the rebound in the population, hunters are encouraged to include female deer in their harvest, once the legal season opens later this year...

Reindeer expert, apprentices ease herd into new home July 18, 2015 Alasa, thedutchharborfisherman.com
... 29 reindeer arrived in early June to the Alaska Peninsula village of Port Heiden, where the community is reviving a long-dormant tradition of reindeer herding. Now, a traditional herder and two teenage apprentices are taking on the challenges of establishing and sustaining a herd where there hasn't been one for several generations...

... Deer pellet counts are our primary tool for monitoring the deer population ... This year's mean pellet count shows an improvement from last year but is still in the range of our previous low points like in the early 2000s ... Hunter reports suggest that the situation may improving faster than the pellets indicate... Things are getting better but they're not back to normal yet...

... Alexander Archipelago wolves (Canis lupus ligoni) has plummeted from 221 to as low as 60, according to data released last week...  “Because old-growth logging has reduced habitat for Sitka black-tailed deer, wolves and humans are competing for fewer deer.”..

RD Boertje, MM Ellis, KA Kellie - Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2015
...  After controlling for −1-year errors associated with the seasonal transition period, we found evidence for errors accumulating with age. We found no significant difference in accuracy based on which tooth was sectioned... Thus, we recommend the more easily extracted canine for estimating moose age...

Ketchikan Deer Lands Two California Men in Court April 8, 2015 Alaska, Alaska Native New
... a vehicle smashing into a deer on the Third Avenue Bypass in Ketchikan. The caller reported that the occupants... exited the truck, loaded the deer and left the scene ... charged with Failure to Notify Authorities of the Road Kill...

State game board to review deer seasons, limits for Sitka January 8, 2015 Alaska, KCAW Raven Radio Foundation 
... The point of the proposal, which was submitted by a member of the public, is not to protect does — it’s to protect fawns. Because what we commonly call “doe season” is actually “any deer season,” and shooting even fawns is legal... Review the Sitka-area proposals.See the Board of Game agenda.  Listen to the live stream of this weekend’s (Jan 9-13, 2015) meeting...

Gifts of deer January 2, 2014 Alaska, Juneau Empire
... Ancestors of Sitka black-tail deer began to wander north to Southeast Alaska at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch, as glaciers receded ... Alaska Department Fish and Game researchers estimate there are around 200,000 in Southeast, with hunters annually harvesting around 12,300...

   Management goals for Sitka black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis) at
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge are to minimize deer impacts to native flora and
fauna while maintaining subsistence harvest opportunities. Accomplishment of
these goals requires statistically-robust estimates of deer abundance. We
estimated deer abundances in non-forested, non-mountainous habitats of southern
Kodiak Island using double observer (mark-recapture) distance sampling applied
to traditional line-transect aerial counts... This survey provides the first statisticallyrobust
means of indexing annual trends in deer densities and abundances on
Kodiak Island

Deer-vehicle accidents average October 28, 2014 Alaska, WisNew
... brings deer crashes on county roads to 22 since Oct. 1. That compared to 21 in 2013 and 32 in 2012 during this same reporting period...

Two Coast Guard members cited for wasting game October 22, 2014 Alaska, m.juneauempire.com 
...  they illegally dumped a deer and four whole ducks on Montana Creek Road earlier this month...  the large buck found on the roadside Oct. 1 was barely salvaged yet its antlers were removed. Four whole ducks were found nearby...

... “The forecast remains pretty poor ...The reason for the decline in the population remains somewhat unknown. We know that we had a series of deep snow winters. We had three winters back to back with well above average snow fall.” ... they are never going to get a precise population estimate on deer...

Timber sale awarded to mill in southeast Alaska October 3, 2014 Alaska, Washington Times
... The conservation groups that have sued have raised concerns about the wolf and deer populations, old-growth logging and the health of the region’s small mills if Viking won the bid...

... "this Court finds ... the Forest Service still has not adequately explained its decision to approve the four logging projects"...  Larry Edwards, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner. “The logging plans did not take into account that these areas are already struggling to sustain a high enough deer population to allow timber sales, while still meeting the requirement to provide enough deer to sustain wolves and deer hunters...

Another deer found with wire snare near Sitka September 17, 2014 Alaska, Ktoo 
... Like its predecessor, this deer received antibiotics, an ear tag, and a bright orange collar with a Global Positioning System data recorder. Mooney will include the animal in a local habitat study with several other deer...

...  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...

Data: About 200,000 deer in southeast Alaska. 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.  According to the 2013 Deer Management Report [PDF] "As clearcut logging continues to reduce old-growth habitat in portions of the unit (Unit 1A), many previously logged stands no longer support deer, the local deer populations are expected to decline.  Population models predict declines in deer carrying capacity of 50-60% by the end of the logging rotation in 2054."  Does were 24.4% of the 2013 harvest.

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