Alaska is a hunter’s paradise that provides sportspeople with the chance to harvest several different big game species, including musk ox, sheep and the largest members of the deer family -- moose. Not only favored among the state’s residents, moose draw hunters from around the globe. To protect this valuable natural resource, the state of Alaska enforces a number of hunting laws that affect licensing, limits, proper procedures and more.
Permits and Permission
To hunt moose in Alaska, those over the age of 15 must obtain a resident or non-resident hunting license and a harvest ticket. Seniors, disabled veterans and low-income hunters may be eligible for reduced-price licenses. While resident hunters need not obtain a locking tag, non-resident hunters must purchase a moose locking tag and affix it to the carcass immediately after killing the animal. A guide is not required for non-residents who are U.S. citizens, but foreign individuals must secure a licensed guide before pursuing moose in Alaska. Failure to follow hunting regulations and laws can result in jail time and fines of up to $100,000. You must complete a hunter safety course before hunting in some areas, but the state recognizes hunter safety course certifications obtained in several other states.You can find out if your certification will be accepted by contacting the [Alaska Department of Fish and Game.](http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=contacts.main)
Limits and Locations
Most of the hunting grounds in the state are located on state or federally owned lands, although hunting many privately held lands is also legal, with landowner permission. All state hunting regulations apply to those hunting on private land. Alaska’s department of fish and game divides the state into 26 different jurisdictions, called [Wildlife Management Units](http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=huntingmaps.restrictionsbygmu&gmu=14). Each of these units has different regulations and bag limits, so you must check the regulations for the unit in which you plan to hunt. Some management units prohibit the harvest of young moose, and require that moose must have minimum antler spreads or tine counts.
Alaska’s hunting laws are subject to change, and hunters must comply with the most recent updates at all times -- ignorance of the changes does not alleviate you from the responsibility to follow all applicable laws and regulations. Check the State of Alaska, Department of Fish and Game [hunting regulations](http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=hunting.huntingregulations) before each trip into the field. Major provisions of the law often change between open hunting seasons, and are covered in yearly publications; but state authorities may enact short-term changes to the law – often called *emergency orders*, in response to changing wildlife populations or other factors. In some seasons, when game populations are low, hunters must obtain a hunting permit -- determined by a random lottery -- before hunting.
Making the Most of Meat
Alaska state laws emphasize the importance of harvesting as much meat as possible from the carcass. Hunters may not remove the antlers from moose before harvesting the meat. Additionally, it is illegal to leave the kill site without first validating your harvest ticket by cutting out the numbered boxes that correspond with the month and day of the kill. Because the state values their wildlife resources, meat resulting from illegal kills must be turned over to state representatives, who then donate it to charitable organizations. Hunters who fail to follow these rules and regulations may incur fines of up to $10,000 and spend up to one year in jail.
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game: 2014-2015 Alaska Hunting Regulations
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Moose Hunting in Alaska
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Identifying a Legal Moose in Antler Restricted Hunts
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Field-to-Freezer Meat Care
- Outdoor Life: The 50 Biggest Poaching Fines in History
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