Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game in Douglas on Thursday announced an early closure to the mountain goat hunting season from Eagle Glacier and Eagle River to Sawmill Creek, part of Unit 1C.
An aerial survey conducted Sept. 24 in the area between Eagle Glacier and Sawmill Creek found only 49 goats. Surveys in the same area in 2012 found 60 goats, and 30 goats in 2013. In addition to the low goat numbers, there were also few kid goats observed; four in 2013 and 14 in 2012. Goat numbers began declining in the area after the severe winter of 2006-2007. Since then the area has had above average snowfall several winters, likely leading to additional deaths. While goats are not isolated in these areas, historical survey data and recent GPS radio collar information suggest little movement between drainages.
The emergency order closed the mountain goat season in this area Oct. 1 at 11:59 p.m.
The remaining area of registration mountain goat hunt RG012, the area east of Sawmill Creek to Antler Lake, remains open. All other mountain goat hunting regulations in Unit 1C remain unchanged and are not affected by this emergency order.