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Unit 2 wolf hunting and trapping closed

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The state and federal wolf hunting and trapping seasons in Game Management Unit 2 will close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, according to a joint announcement issued Friday by the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

All wolves taken in GMU 2 must be sealed by Feb. 14, according to the announcement, which is a reminder that follows the original closure timing announcement released on Oct. 29.

Game Management Unit 2 includes Prince of Wales Island and the islands adjacent to POW.

The 2019-20 GMU 2 wolf harvest management strategy has been a new effort stemming from Fish and Game working with the Forest Service, state Fish and Game advisory committees, Alaska Board of Game, the federal Southeast Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council and trappers, according to the Oct. 29 announcement.

The Board of Game adopted the plan this past January.

“The new strategy manages harvest of GMU 2 wolves by adjusting trapping season length based on ADF&G’s most recent wolf population estimate and its relation to the established population objective,” stated the Oct. 29 announcement.

It established GMU 2 wolf population objective of 150-200 wolves, and aligned the state trapping season to start at the same time as the federal season on Nov. 15. Fish and Game’s harvest management plan lists trapping season lengths based on whether the most recent Unit 2 wolf population estimate is within, above, or below the population objective range, according to the announcements.

The most current population estimate for GMU 2, based on data collected from October through December 2018, was 170 wolves.

Although lower than the estimates in the fall of 2016 (231 wolves) and fall 2017 (225 wolves), the current estimate is “well within the population objective range” set by the Board of Game, according to Friday’s announcement. As such, the hunting and trapping season could be two months in length.