Upper Lynn Canal mountain goat hunters will have an extra step to take before gaining a hunting permit this fall. At the recommendation of the Upper Lynn Canal Fish and Game Advisory Committee, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will implement a mandatory educational quiz for hunters. The committee hopes the quiz will discourage the harvest of female mountain goats.
The 25-question mountain goat identification quiz asks questions about why harvesting nannies is detrimental to goat populations. It also includes pictures of goats, asking which are nannies and which are billies. And there are pictures of goats asking ‘should you take the shot?’
Fish and Game biologists don’t want hunters to take the shot if they come across a nanny. It’s not illegal to shoot a female goat, but taking nannies can significantly reduce the overall mountain goat population.
Right now, the harvest is managed with a point system based on goat counts. Each area is given a maximum number of points. For each billy taken, one point is deducted. For a nanny, two points are deducted.
Wildlife biologist Carl Koch says there is no biological emergency in Unit 1D, which extends from Eldred Rock to the Canadian border. But he says some areas of concern where the goat population seems to have declined are the Takshanuk Range, the east side of Chilkoot Lake and Skagway Pie.
“And if people were to target billies it might help the population recover,” Koch said.
The Fish and Game Advisory Committee talked about making the areas of concern billy-only harvests. In that case, the harvest would be closed if someone were to take a nanny. But Koch said that would be very restrictive for areas that don’t have biological emergencies.
“We don’t want to make this impossible,” he said. “We just want to bring it to people’s attention that if you target a male it’s better for the population.”
The committee voted unanimously to add the educational quiz as a requirement to acquire a mountain goat hunting permit for Unit 1D. The quiz is available online on ADF&G’s website. Aside from Haines, it is currently mandated in Cordova and Valdez hunting units.
Koch said the new requirement will be in place by this fall’s hunting season. Fish and Game biologists also plan to hold an educational meeting in Haines for mountain goat hunters before the season starts. There are usually around 90 permits granted in Unit 1D.
Koch said he hopes the quiz and hunter meeting will be low burden, high payoff strategies to protect nannies.