Alaska News

Kenai Peninsula lynx hunting, trapping on hold until 2020

KENAI, Alaska— Hunting and trapping of lynx is on hold in the Kenai Peninsula until about 2020, a change from the way the lynx season has been restricted in previous years.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game sent a reminder to hunters and trappers earlier this month about the closure of two game units on the Peninsula, the Peninsula Clarion ( ) reported.

Lynx are on a roughly six-year abundance cycle in the region, with populations tied to snowshoe hare numbers. Lynx populations drop within a few years after hare populations become scarce, according to Fish and Game area biologist Jeff Selinger.

The populations of other predators, such as coyotes, also are tied to hares.

Selinger said lynx hunting was allowed in past years even though trapping season was closed because most of the animals were taken by trapping and snaring. But now there is a higher percentage of lynx being shot rather than trapped or snared.

"So, before, when we had a handful of lynx taken during the hunting season, I could leave that open," Selinger said. "But I can no longer afford to keep the hunting season open when the trapping season is closed."

Some of highest lynx harvests on record for the animal were linked to the last abundance cycle. The harvest peaked with 456 lynx in the Peninsula reported killed during the 2011-2012 season.