Officials limit wolf harvest in Southeast Alaska to 9

KETCHIKAN — Due to a lower estimate of the number of wolves in southeast Alaska, state and federal managers have reduced the combined limit for the federal subsistence and state general hunts to nine wolves in the area.

In Game Management 2, the area that include Prince of Wales Island and its adjacent islands, the state wolf hunting season will run for just 10 days, if at all, according to The Ketchikan Daily News. If all nine wolves are killed during subsistence hunting and trapping seasons, which begin in September and November, the state season will be closed.

"The harvest quota of nine wolves reflects 20 percent of the population estimate plus a reduction for any other human-caused mortality that may occur. This strategy is intended to ensure a conservative and sustainable harvest," according to a joint announcement issued Friday by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Forest Service.

Officials estimate the wolf population in the area dropped from 221 wolves in fall 2013 to 89 wolves in autumn 2014.

Ryan Scott, the Southeast Alaska regional supervisor of the department's Division of Wildlife Conservation said it will be difficult to monitor the federal subsistence season harvest, which he stressed could shut down wolf hunting in the region all together.

"We will be working very closely with the subsistence managers, and the sealers, and our staff on Prince of Wales Island, to monitor as closely as possible the harvest in real time," Scott said.

In July, six conservation organizations asked the Federal Subsistence Board to close the subsistence hunting and trapping seasons for wolves in the area, saying the rare Alexander Archipelago wolves in the area merit endangered species status. The board has scheduled a public hearing for Thursday to hear comments on the request.