A deer snacks on plants outside the KRBD studios (KRBD staff photo by Maria Dudzak).

Residents of Ketchikan, Juneau and other classified urban areas who hunt deer on Prince of Wales Island will continue to be limited to two deer per season. That’s despite a request from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to raise the bag limit for non-subsistence hunters.

The Federal Subsistence Board had halved the bag limit for non-subsistence hunters following a recommendation from the Southeast Alaska Regional Subsistence Advisory Council, also known as the Southeast RAC.

“Effectively, we’re not recommending any changes to what we adopted two years ago,” said Southeast RAC chairman Don Hernandez. He announced the council’s decision on Wednesday during the RAC’s meeting in Ketchikan.

The advisory board also rejected proposals that would have banned hunting doe on Prince of Wales Island. Proponents say a ban would help the population rebound. Some subsistence hunters had testified that deer are becoming scarce and more difficult to hunt.

In other news, the RAC voted to support changing the rules to allow subsistence hunters to harvest bears, moose and mountain goats anywhere in Southeast Alaska — not just their immediate area.

Hernandez also says another rule change could allow for elk subsistence hunts. That he says has raised some eyebrows.

“There was a lot of discussion about whether or not an introduced species could be subject to a customary and traditional use determination,” he explained.

Elk were introduced by the state in the 1980s.  But federal game managers note rural residents have since incorporated elk meat into their subsistence diets. The RAC also criticized U.S. Forest Service officials over the agency’s proposal to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the Clinton-era Roadless Rule. The Federal Subsistence Board is expected to ratify the Southeast RAC’s recommendations at its April meeting.