Are there any other causes to the problem? Loss of habitat, government screw ups, a couple hard winters, to many outfitters, or even too much use by the “local” population?
Right now there is only two places where there is a lack of game (moose) that is open for sport hunting and both of those areas are strickly controlled. One the is Nelchina area (Copper River Basin). Both Moose, that species is open for both substance and sports hunting and caribou, open for subsistance hunting only. Anyway, there is a rapid decline in animal numbers and it is NOT from any hunting. It is from preditors, the Grizzley Bear and the Wolf. This preditors are right now comsumming 20% of the caribou herd annually and without some sort of intervention will be consumming over 25% of the herd (from a fish and game study that was released at the winter meetings). The other area is over by Mcgrath where the Moose population is also declining quite rapidly. The Game Board has OK’d some liberal wolf thinning to help correct the problem. Hunting has NOT caused the rapid decline in any area. Otherwise, there is currectly enough game for the sports hunter and the subsistance hunter. In the most recent poll, given on Anchorage T.V. channel 2 this evening, 57% in favor of wolf and bear control and 40% against with the remaining undecided in the Copper River Basin area. The state is seeing some reductions in fish numbers however. The Chum Salmon around Nome, Chum Salmon on the Kuskaquim (sp), Silver Salmon in upper Cook Inlet, to name the ones that I can readly think of. Still NO reason why there is a drop. Of course many will point fingers at the commercial fishermen, but that really doesn’t answer some questions. Most fisheries are healthy—not all—but most.