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Alaska’s most savage predator is prolific throughout the state. Pursuing them makes for exhilarating and is also part of a sound management strategy. But can you hunt wolves in Alaska legally?
The state of Alaska is one of the places where it’s legal to hunt wolves. There are resident and non-resident opportunities for taking the controversial carnivores. You can get a wolf tag, which is inexpensive, or take part in year-long subsistence hunts.
Two subspecies of wolves are found in Alaska, the gray and the black. You can hunt wolves in this state during the general season or with a hunting permit. Let’s explore the hunting of wolves in the land of the midnight sun and how it’s regulated.
When Can You Hunt Wolves in Alaska?
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, ADF-G, administers hunting. Its Board of Game is responsible for setting regulations and has Game Management Units or GMUs that decide seasons for any big game hunting. Standard requirements for a wolf hunt include purchasing a permit, acquiring tags or harvest tickets, and adhering to the set bag limits.
A general hunting season runs according to the conventional procedure, while another involves permits. These hunts can have limitations, such as restricting hunter numbers to minimize the impact on game populations. A drawn hunt, for instance, is open to locals and non-residents, awarded by lottery on payment of an application fee.
Alaska boasts between 7,000 and 11,000 wolves that roam the land. It’s the largest population in the US, and they’ve never been on its list of threatened or endangered species. Except in urban centers, you’ll come across a wolf in the historical ranges, even in the outskirts of major cities. A regulation to note is that non-resident hunters must be accompanied by a guide and have the appropriate tags at hand to place on the harvest carcass.
Which Types of Wolves Do You Expect to Find in Alaska?
Wolves are members of the Canidae family. The subspecies Canis Lupus is found throughout Alaska. Their color ranges from black to almost white, with shades of tan and gray in between. There are also considerable overlaps in body sizes and other characteristics among various areas. Adult males weigh between 85 and 115 pounds, but they can occasionally reach 145 pounds.
The gray or timber wolf is more prominent than its cousins in the south, with the adult female weighing 10 or 15 pounds lighter than the males. Historically, wolves ranged from Mexico to the arctic. They were extirpated years ago in the lower states as a result of human-wildlife conflicts. That’s because the land was being converted for pasture and other agricultural uses.
Wolves hunt in packs for effectiveness, ranging from three or four individuals to dozens of canines. In search of prey, they cycle through a home range that’s several hundred square miles. The southeast Alaska wolf is also referred to as the Alexander Archipelago wolf, a smaller cousin of the gray. It weighs around 30 to 50 pounds and has a diet consisting of deer, small mammals, and salmon, plus carrion. You can see them combing tidewater beaches for this.
Is Hunting Wolves in Alaska an Easy Adventure?
Wolf hunting season in Alaska opens in August, but you can shoot these canines during the black bear season in October. As of 2020, new rules also allow targeting wolves in national parks and preserves previously prohibited by federal law. It’s also illegal to bait wolves, as is common in Canada since they’re considered game animals.
Hunting wolves in Alaska isn’t an easy undertaking, considering their cautious nature and the often-frigid local weather. A lot of patience plus stamina is required, and you must be the type of hunter who appreciates the hunt as much as the kill. In this state, you can also hunt nursing mothers and their litter in dens when the season is open.
Wolves are intelligent creatures, and they’ll move out of an area when they detect humans. You should take a wolf only if you’re capable and ready to make an accurate shot on a moving target. Other game animals may stop and stare when they see a hunter, but these varmints run, offering you little shooting opportunity. You can hunt wolves in Alaska using conventional big-game hunting techniques, including calling.
Why Does Alaska Allow Widespread Wolf Hunting, Unlike Other US States?
Wildlife legislation in Alaska is unique in the US and possibly the world. According to the state’s 1994 Intensive Management Law, specific predator populations improve the presence of deer, moose, and caribou. That’s because many Alaskans rely on wild game or fish as a food source, and the meat giver population must remain sufficient for sustained, adequate harvest.
The management approach of Alaska promotes the improvement of habitats and focuses on reducing wolves that prey on moose, caribou, and deer. Hunting wolves has grown in popularity, with harvests increasing each year. Recently, the state has implemented predator control plans that minimize wolf populations in specific areas. That includes rounding up and shooting the canines from an aircraft at some of the GNUs.
Predators are curious by nature, and calling wolves is similar to what’s done with coyotes. Usually, a wolf will be on the prowl for food, and sick or dying animals are great incentives. They prefer scavenging on another’s kill rather than chasing down the deer, which is hard work. Therefore, calls for these canines often imitate injured, trapped, or other game animals in jeopardy.
Wolf calls can range from a field mouse squeaker to the call of a cow elk. You can also imitate the death squalls of a jackrabbit or cottontail for increased effectiveness. That’s an easy and enticing snack for hungry wolves, but you can use the sound of whichever prey animal you’re comfortable with.
To answer the question ‘can you hunt wolves in Alaska?’ The answer is most definitely yes. Wolf hunting has unique aspects that make it exciting, including hearing the eerie howl of lone individuals. You should arm yourself well, seeing as an alpha gray male can tip the scale at 150 pounds. Avoid small-caliber rifles and select a large varmint firearm like the .243, 22/250, or 220 Swift used on elk and deer.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.