Over the past year, state and federal officials have been talking about how to improve management of the annual wolf hunt on Prince of Wales Island, especially after an apparent decline in wolf numbers.
A 40-plus-page report was released Thursday, detailing some of the concerns regarding wolves on POW, and recommendations for moving forward in the future.
One concern is deer habitat – because deer are the primary food source for wolves – and how timber harvest could affect the deer population. Recommendations include managing tree stands to maximize deer forage; staggering timber harvests so there’s a variety of stand ages; and incorporating unharvested pathways between elevations.
Another concern is the effect of roads on wolf populations, because roads provide easier access for hunters. Recommendations include limiting the construction of new roads, and blocking off roads that have been administratively closed.
Other recommendations for reducing wolf mortality include establishing a science-based management strategy and maintaining flexibility in the annual harvest quotas. The study also recommends protecting documented wolf dens.
Ongoing research and outreach efforts also are recommended in the report.
The state and federal agencies involved in creating the report and recommendations were the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game. A copy of the report is posted below.
You also can find it on the Forest Service website by following this link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/land/tongass/landmanagement