After a successful season of elk hunting on Afognak Island, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has closed elk hunting in the East Afognak hunt area by emergency order.
Nathan Svoboda, area wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Kodiak, says that the unusual closure of the entire island may not be entirely coincidental.
“We typically close down, you know, certain portions of the registration hunt during any given year, this year was kind of interesting. We closed down pretty much the entire island, which I don’t think we’ve ever done before. At least not that I can remember. So that seems to suggest that there’s quite a few hunters out there. And not only that, but they’re also being pretty successful,” said Svoboda.
“I think people are getting tired of being cooped up. So a lot of people are driving down the field, and we were seeing the same thing with our goat hunts, you know, we’re reaching our harvest quarters a little bit earlier than we had in previous years.”
The goal for the hunt is to take about 10% of the overall population, with that demand being lightened across the herds depending on their size, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. A particularly small herd may have little to no harvest quota, while larger herds will have large harvest quotas.
There are eight elk herds on Afognak Island. As of October 30th, hunters reported taking 18 elk from a quota of 24 in East Afognak. A harvest that exceeds objectives could have the adverse effect of reducing future hunting opportunities.
Registration hunts remain open for a portion of the Remainder hunt area on Kodiak and Shuyak islands. Only hunters with drawing permits may hunt elk on Raspberry Island.