On 3/30/18, The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) reported an illegal take of a wood bison near the village of Shageluk. The cow wood bison had been in or near the village of Shageluk for several days and was eventually suspected to be injured or sick. On 3/30/18, the wood bison died near Shageluk. At the direction of ADF&G, local residents salvaged the edible meat. During salvage, they noted trauma to the digestive tract of the animal and recovered a bullet. AWT responded to conduct an investigation. The wood bison was shot with what appears to be a medium caliber pistol round. The investigation is continuing.
In 2015, 130 wood bison were introduced into the wild near Shageluk near the Innoko River. Currently, it is illegal to hunt wood bison. Hunting will be allowed when the herd increases to a number that allows a harvestable surplus. This incident is the third time an animal from the herd has been illegally shot and killed.
Wood bison restoration could result in many benefits to Alaska’s people, including providing an additional source of food, along with supporting businesses for hunting and tourism. There are also benefits to the ecological health of Alaska’s landscape by restoring a key grazing animal to the ecosystem. Alaska’s effort to restore wood bison is an important part of the long-term survival and conservation of the species.
AWT is soliciting information from area residents regarding this unlawful take. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Alaska Fish & Wildlife Safeguard at 1-800-478-3377 or the McGrath Alaska Wildlife Troopers at 907-524-3222. Reports made to the Alaska Fish & Wildlife Safeguard can be anonymous and could result in a reward.
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5700 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99507
Phone: (907) 269-5511