Local News

Board of Game considers state-sponsored wolf trapping in Southeast Alaska

Alaska’s Board of Game this weekend will consider controversial wolf trapping programs for two areas of Southeast Alaska in an attempt to boost deer numbers.

The proposals would create state-sponsored trapping programs to reduce or eliminate wolves on Gravina Island near Ketchikan along with the Mitkof and Kupreanof Island shorelines near Petersburg.

The state is proposing to pay one or two experienced trappers to trap wolves along the state-owned tidelands of the two areas. The four or five-year trapping programs each could cost over 300-thousand dollars.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologists do not know if the trapping will successfully boost deer numbers. Other factors blamed for deer number declines are snowy winters, loss of habitat from logging and predation by black bears.

Photo courtesy of ADF&G

Fish and game does not have precise estimates of the wolves living in the two areas. However, based on population research from elsewhere in Southeast, the department thinks eight to 12 wolves live on Gravina Island. The state is proposing to kill that entire population and keep the island free of wolves for four or five years.

Near Petersburg, trapping would happen on Mitkof Island, Woewodski Island and the eastern portion of Kupreanof. The department’s target would be to trap 80 percent of the wolves in that area, or 50 wolves. Deer populations in the proposed wolf trapping areas would be compared to nearby areas without predator control to see if the programs are successful.

Deer are an important food source for hunters in Southeast Alaska and there’s been support among Southeast hunters for reducing wolf numbers. But it’s not a popular idea elsewhere. Comments from around the globe opposing the wolf trapping programs were submitted to the board.

Two groups, Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity, have petitioned for protection of Southeast wolves under the Endangered Species Act, arguing the region’s wolves are at risk of extinction. Fish and Game’s trapping plans says killing wolves in the two areas are not expected to create a conservation concern for wolf numbers overall in Southeast.

Operational plans for the trapping drafted by Fish and Game are posted on the Board of Game’s website. The public can listen to the meeting on that site as well.

The board meets March 15-17 in Kenai.

Recent News

PHS volleyball second seed following Klawock tournament

The Craig High School volleyball team grabbed the inside track on the top seed for Southeast 2A volleyball last week, beating Petersburg in five games Friday morning. The region’s small schools were playing in Klawock in the first of two tournaments that will determine seeding at the regional tournament this fall. more

Fire guts mobile home in Petersburg

The mobile home at 16 South Fifth Street was gutted in Saturday night's fire.
Fire destroyed a mobile home on south Fifth Street in Petersburg Saturday night but no one was injured in the blaze. The police department received the call around midnight on Saturday, October 22nd. The Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department responded with two engines and an ambulance crew, about 10 volunteers in all. more