Biologists with Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game are optimistic about the deer hunting prospects in and around the Juneau area after the completion of this spring’s surveys and assessments.
Among the assessments and perhaps the most notable one is the spring pellet surveys. As biologists combed through the woods in search of deer droppings, the number of these “pellet groups” are used to accurately estimate the deer population in any given area.
While by no means an exact science, a number of pellet groups in an area are typically a very good indicator regarding the health and population of deer. According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game regional supervisor Ryan Scott, the increase is certainly encouraging for those planning to hunt deer in the area this year.
“We had a significant increase in pellet groups on Douglas when we went out and took a look at those places, which suggests there are more deer on the ground,” Scott told the Juneau Empire. “Bottom line is I am very optimistic for the deer season. That doesn’t mean there will be a deer behind every tree, but it should be a very successful season for hunters.”
In addition to promising piles of poop, biologists are also pointing to a relatively mild winter in the area. While much of southeastern Alaska did receive a great deal of snow, much of it came after the hunting seasons, allowing deer to forage in other areas. Without the pressure brought on by throngs of hunters in the woods, the deer were able to safely forage and is another reason they seem to be flourishing.
This year’s hunting season opened on August 1, exclusively for bucks in the area. Come mid-September, does will also be able to be hunted on Douglas, Shelter, Lincoln and Sullivan Islands. As for the mainland, the hunt is limited to bucks only through all seasons to protect populations.
Feature Image: James Brooks