EPSCoR - Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments
Quantifying Rural Hunter Access in Alaska
Despite hunter access influencing harvest success, few studies have quantified characteristics of hunter access. Based on spatially explicit interview data, we used geographic information system (GIS) analyses to calculate access pathways and distances that rural hunters traveled to moose (Alces alces) harvest locations in Interior Alaska. Using Jenks Natural Breaks classification, approximately 53%, 21%, 5%, and 21% of harvest locations occurred along navigable rivers within 0 to 24, 25 to 52, 53 to 86, and >86 km (0 to 14, 15 to 32, 33 to 53, and >53 mi), respectively, from the hunter’s community of residence. We used moose density estimates in the area being accessed by hunters to calculate annual moose harvest. Our results were similar to estimates from independent sources that used more standardized methods (e.g., agency household surveys). This suggests that our access-based approach has potential to provide an alternative method for estimating harvest intensity in areas where harvest report data are considered unreliable. Also, our findings demonstrated how insight on hunter access may help prioritize areas for active management.
Data and Resources
Data Types: Report