Sitka black-tailed deer hunting ends

State fish and game officials are reminding hunters that the season for the Sitka black-tailed deer ended by regulation on Friday, Dec. 31, in Prince William Sound and all other areas of Unit 6.

The federal subsistence deer season for federally qualified hunters continues by regulation on federal lands within Unit 6 through Jan. 31, unless closed earlier by the U.S. Forest Service District Ranger. This season is for one buck if the hunter has not harvested their five deer bag limit before Dec. 31.

Subsistence hunters on federal lands must have a valid 2022 hunting license to continue hunting into January. Deer harvest tickets issued for regulatory year 2021 continue to be valid for the January federal season.

Substantial snowfall in November and December has made deer readily available to hunters on beaches. State land ownership extends to the mean high tide line and for a harvest to be legal in January, both the hunter and the deer must be above the mean high tide line.

All hunters who have deer harvest tickets, even those who do not hunt, must return completed hunt reports to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game or at hunt.alaska.gov.

Beneficiaries of proxy hunts are responsible for reporting deer harvested on their behalf. Hunters must report federal harvest on their state harvest report.

Charlotte Westing, the Prince William Sound area wildlife biologist for ADF&G in Cordova, advises that biologists are anticipating higher than average deer mortality rates this winter, though the full extent will not be known until spring surveys are conducted. Hunters participating in the last days of the state season were encouraged to target older bucks and fawns, the age classes most likely to succumb to winter weather, Westing said.