Mule and White-tailed Deer in Alaska May Be Harvested on Sight. - P.O.W. Report

Monday, July 22, 2019

Mule and White-tailed Deer in Alaska May Be Harvested on Sight.

Alaska hunters will discover a new page in the 2019-2020 hunting regulations (“Deer in Alaska” p. 28), which describes mule deer and white-tailed deer, two historically non-native species that are now moving into Alaska. Wildlife managers with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are monitoring this range expansion, and the new regulations outline how Alaska hunters may harvest mule and white-tailed deer in those areas where they might be encountered.

Fish and Game biologists want tissue samples from any white-tailed and mule deer harvested in the state, and welcome any reports (especially with photographs) of these deer seen in Alaska. Deer identification and contact information are provided in this article.

Mule deer and white-tailed deer have not historically been found in Alaska. They’ve been expanding their ranges over recent decades, moving north and west in Canada and recently into Alaska. Wildlife managers in Alaska are now allowing hunters to harvest these new arrivals. Biologists need tissue samples, and want to document where these new deer are showing up. Learn more in Alaska Fish and Wildlife News.

Mule deer and white-tailed deer have been steadily moving into new areas of western Canada, something wildlife biologists there are closely monitoring. That establishes source populations within striking distance of Alaska. River valleys are access corridors for wildlife, as are roads like the Alaska Highway Corridor.

Given that, it’s not surprising that there have been scattered reports of mule deer in the Tok area going back decades. Mule deer have recently been documented in other border-area communities like Chisana and Eagle. In 2013, three mule deer were reported north of Delta Junction. In May 2017, a mule deer was killed by a car outside Fairbanks, and mule deer have been photographed in North Pole, and near the Fort Knox Mine.

In Southeast Alaska, a mule deer was recently photographed near Skagway.

The story is similar for white-tailed deer, although they’ve not yet been documented in Alaska.

Hunting Regulation Changes:

Requirements have been modified since the Hunting Regulations went to press. Page 28 states that hunters should bring in the entire carcass, but that is not necessary. That might be practical in some situations – in the Fairbanks area, for example, a hunter could drive to the Fish and Game office on College Road with the carcass and samples could be collected there. If a hunter in Skagway harvests a mule deer, it makes more sense to provide biologists in Juneau with the important organs and not try and ship the entire carcass.

The “Deer in Alaska” page also states that hunters must, “…contact the nearest ADF&G office prior to harvesting the deer…” That is not necessary. Wildlife managers do not want hunters mistakenly shooting Sitka black-tailed deer; and they want hunters to collect and provide the appropriate samples, and not simply field dress the animal as they normally would.

[For more information read here]

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