Federal Subsistence Board eliminates winter cow moose season and closes moose hunting to non-Federally qualified users in Unit 23

The Federal Subsistence Board (Board) has approved Emergency Special Action WSA18-04 with modification to close the Federal winter cow moose season and close moose hunting in Unit 23 except by Federally qualified subsistence users for the 2018/2019 regulatory year.

Last edited 01/25/2022
Contact Information

Jennifer Hardin
(907) 786-3677 or (800) 478-1456


There are serious population viability concerns for the Unit 23 moose population due to dramatic declines in population estimates, low calf:cow ratios, and likely exceedance of the harvestable surplus. Since cow moose are the keystone to population growth, conserving cows is essential to maintaining a healthy moose population. Cow moose harvest is not recommended in a low density, declining population. Closing the cow season should help the Unit 23 moose population recover more quickly and prevent further declines. 

Closure to non-Federally qualified users to all moose hunting is warranted due to the limited harvestable surplus and to allow for continuation of subsistence uses. If sustainable harvest is limited, Federally qualified subsistence users must receive priority as mandated by ANILCA. While approval of this special action reduces opportunity for Federally qualified subsistence users by not allowing the harvest of cow moose, they will still be able to harvest bulls during the winter season under both Federal and State regulations and will experience less competition from non-Federally qualified users. Restricting subsistence uses without first or additionally restricting nonsubsistence uses would be inappropriate under Sections 804, 815, and 816 of ANILCA.

For more information, contact Jennifer Hardin at (907) 786-3677 or (800) 478-1456 or jennifer_hardin@fws.gov

Additional information on the Federal Subsistence Management Program may be found on the web at www.doi.gov/subsistence or by visiting www.facebook.com/subsistencealaska.

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