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Wildlife Troopers Ask Hunters to Avoid Active Wildfire Perimeters

19-029-Hunters-Avoid-Fires August 21, 2019 (WILLOW) – Alaska’s unusually volatile and prolonged wildfire season this year has extended into hunting season, creating challenges for firefighting crews and hunters alike. Of particular concern are popular game management units along the highway system between Homer and Talkeetna where several wildfires are currently burning even as moose hunting seasons open.

“With general-hunt moose seasons opening Sunday in Game Management Unit 14A, fire crews working the Deshka Landing Wildfire have expressed concerns about having 200 firefighters in the Willow Swamp area with hunters nearby potentially shooting in their direction,” said Alaska Wildlife Troopers Captain Rex Leath.

That’s a legitimate safety concern, Leath said, not only in 14A, but anywhere around the perimeters of the Deshka Landing Wildfire; the McKinley Wildfire, currently burning between Willow and Talkeetna; the Swan Lake Wildfire, being fought on the Kenai Peninsula around Cooper Landing; and the North Fork and Caribou Lake wildfires north of Homer.

“All of these fires are happening right now in popular, road-accessible hunting areas,” Leath said. “Firefighting crews and equipment are present around each fire perimeter and the best thing hunters can do is avoid these areas. That may mean changing plans, traveling well beyond active wildfires, and hunting new country.”

In addition to fears that firefighting crews could be caught downrange of hunters seeking moose and other big game, hunters also face logistical challenges in the form of road closures due to fire activity, poor visibility or air quality from smoke, and getting caught in the paths of rapidly moving fires.

“There’s a large chunk of the hunting public, for example, that uses Deshka Landing as the main access point for hunting in (GMU) 16B,” said Eddie Grasser, director of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Wildlife Conservation. “Hunters need to be aware that trucks and trailers left near fire perimeters could impede firefighting activity or even become vulnerable to fire.”

Wildlife Troopers, Fish and Game, and the Alaska Division of Forestry agree these are all good reasons to look for areas to hunt away from the fires.

Even while hunting well away from active wildfires this hunting season, hunters are asked to take extra precautions to see that new fires aren’t ignited. For information on fire safety, visit
https://www.alaskacenters.gov/trip-planning/stewardship/safety/fire-safety
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Troopers Join National Campaign to Crack Down on Impaired Drivers

August 15, 2019 (ANCHORAGE) – Driving impaired is always a bad idea, a fact Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers are highlighting as they dedicate extra time and effort to take tipsy motorists off the state’s roadways.
 
The high visibility effort is part of the annual national anti-DUI campaign Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. This year’s campaign runs from Aug. 14 through Sept. 2.
 
“Our goal is to encourage everyone on our highways to use good judgment and get home alive,” said Alaska State Troopers Director Colonel Barry Wilson. “Our troopers will be out in force to make sure impaired drivers are taken off the road and held accountable.”
 
Alaskans can help keep our roadways safe by not driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or any other substance that can cause impairment or drowsiness. Additionally, motorists witnessing others driving dangerously are encouraged to make a REDDI report (Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately) by calling 911. To learn more about REDDI, visit http://www.dot.alaska.gov/stwdplng/hwysafety/REDDI.shtml.
 
Funding for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over high-visibility enforcement campaign was funded by grants distributed by the Alaska Highway Safety Office.
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Wildlife Troopers Offer Tips for Hunters as Hunting Seasons Open Statewide

August 6, 2019 (ANCHORAGE) – Excitement is building for Alaska hunters as seasons open this month in many regions for deer, caribou, Dall sheep, moose, mountain goat and other big game species. The Alaska Wildlife Troopers will be present in full force statewide making sure everybody plays by the rules.
 
“Hunting is a longstanding Alaska tradition,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “As we enter this harvest season, I hope hunters will take a moment to appreciate the critical role our state hunting regulations play in conserving our wildlife resources.”
Serving as the state’s primary law enforcement agency overseeing hunting and fishing regulations, the Alaska Wildlife Troopers will be busy in August and September.

“We’ll be checking in with hunters and keeping an eye out for violations of all types,” said Wildlife Troopers Colonel Doug Massie. “One thing I can’t emphasize enough: Before heading into the field, make sure you’re intimately familiar with the hunting regulations that apply to the areas and game species you plan to hunt.”   
 
Examples of what Wildlife Troopers will be looking for include:
 
  • HUNTING LICENSES. This almost goes without saying, but Alaska resident hunters, ages 18 years or older – and all nonresident hunters – must possess and carry in the field a valid Alaska state hunting license (see pages 9-11 of the 2019/2020 hunting regulations).
  • HARVEST TICKETS. Before hunting on a harvest ticket, make sure the ticket number(s) is written on your hunting license (page 14 of the 2019/2020 hunting regulations).
  • PERMIT TICKETS. Drawing hunt permits are not valid until signed. Carry your permit(s) with you while hunting (page 15 of the 2019/2020 hunting regulations).
  • PUNCH YOUR HARVEST TICKET. Harvest tickets must be carried in the field and validated immediately upon killing game (page 14 of the 2019/2020 hunting regulations).
  • TROPHIES CAN WAIT. Salvage and remove all meat from the field BEFORE or WHILE packing out the last load with horns or antlers. It's the right thing to do ethically ... it's also the law (see page 22 of the 2019/2020 hunting regulations).
  • EVIDENCE OF SEX. Hunters who kill a big game animal (other than Dall sheep) where the bag limit is restricted to one sex must keep, until processed for human consumption, enough of the sex organs naturally attached to a rear quarter to show the sex of the animal (page 22 of the 2019/2020 hunting regulations).
  • WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS. Calling or texting another hunter to share the location of an animal in the field is illegal. Drones also may not be used for hunting    (page 18 of the 2019/2020 hunting regulations).
 
The rules above are just a few highlights. For more information, pick up a free copy of the Alaska State Hunting Regulations booklet at any Alaska Department of Fish and Game office or at any license vendor; or view the regulations online at
https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildliferegulations.hunting
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