On Saturday, the moose-vehicle collision sign in Wasilla was up to 135, and the state has made efforts to curb those numbers by allowing hunters to guard the highways and keep the moose off the roads.
The Mat-Su Valley has been home to a thriving moose population for centuries. Now, roadways run right through the middle of the moose habitat, which has caused moose-vehicle collisions to increase.
The Department of Fish and Game are now allowing hot spot hunts along roadways to try to decrease the collisions.
"This is a very high density moose area about 5 moose per square mile which is a very high density," Fish and Game Regional Supervisor Bruce Dale said. "Moose are coming down to places where we enhance the habitat, but sometimes they get hung up along the road especially when the snow gets deep."
The hunters are only allowed to use slugged shotguns, not rifles and Dale says safety must be a priority with these hunts.
"They're required to have a hunter education card," Dale said. "They've had to take a hunter education class, which emphasizes public safety with firearms especially in these more urban areas. In addition, we sit them down and it's a very tightly controlled restricted hunt."
Dale says moose are abundant no matter what time of the year it is, but there are certain times you should take extra precaution.
"Anything below 3500 feet is moose habitat but in the winter they're trying to get down to the major rivers," Dale said. "Every time it snows during particular snows is when people should be particularly careful about moose."
Editor’s Note: The ADF&G opened registration for Mat-Su hot spot hunts back in October and more than 200 prospective hunters were added to the hunt. The state said 12 hunters per week are given a permit and assigned to one of four designated road corridors in the Mat-Su Valley. The winter’s hunt opened last year on December 1 and will remain open until March 30.
Contact Garrett Turner: