Three moose in the Chilkat Valley photographed during the 2016 survey. (Carl Koch)

Three moose in the Chilkat Valley photographed during the 2016 survey. (Carl Koch)

The Haines area moose hunt starts Friday, September 15.

The hunt is scheduled to stay open until Oct. 7, unless it’s forced to close early. The last two years, the harvest was faster than usual and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game closed it by emergency order.

Carl Koch is a wildlife biologist with Fish and Game. Last year was the first time since 2012 that the department met its bull to cow ratio in aerial surveys of Unit 1D. The the moose count was the highest it’s been in the last 10 years.

But Koch says that doesn’t change the number of moose that they are allowing hunters to harvest this year.

“We have a guideline harvest of 20-25,” says Koch. “Since we’re going on minimum counts, we kind of always have a pretty steady, lowish average of calves. About 13 percent. I think it was 14 percent with this last count. And so we’re sticking with our harvest guideline of 20-25.”

Koch says the count is influenced by a number of weather factors, and it doesn’t necessarily indicate an increase in population.

There are no new rules or regulations for the moose hunt this year. But Koch does want to remind hunters of an existing restriction.

“Drones are illegal,” says Koch. “You can’t use them to aid in any way in your hunt. And if folks have questions about that they can ask me or the trooper. But yeah, who would have thought I’d have to mention remote-controlled flying objects.”

Fish and Game issued 250 moose hunt permits in management area 1D this year. Though, Koch says generally, fewer people actually participate in the hunt.

KHNS will have routine updates on the moose harvest numbers in the local news.