Rutting Moose, Chili, and Hunter Education

By Alex Lewis and Sarah Barcalow

UAF The Chapter went to Denali National Park to observe moose mating behaviors.
Image Credit: Adam Haberski

During the fall semester, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society welcomed new members and continued to establish traditions for the chapter. To kick off the semester, the chapter headed to Denali National Park and Preserve to observe moose behaviors during the rut season.

This annual event is a fantastic way for the student members to bond and to get new members excited about being a part of TWS. After a night of camping, members hiked into the park to look for moose. Using spotting scopes, they were able to observe a few harems in the distance. They were also fortunate to see bull moose displaying dominance near the Park road.

UAF

Members learn how to use firearms safely in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Hunter Education course, part of the HIT program.
Image Credit: Adam Haberski

In late October, the chapter hosted its second annual chili fundraiser. The event is becoming a UAF favorite. This year the chapter partnered with the UAF Reindeer Research program, which provided reindeer meat for the chili.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) gave a hunter education course for the chapter in November. The course serves as a great opportunity for new members to meet some of the wonderful people at ADFG and for members to earn their hunter safety certificate.

“Hunter Education is a valuable asset for future fieldwork in Alaska. Firearms are routinely carried for bear safety when working in the field and by receiving firearms safety training ahead of time I have distinguished myself from other candidates,” says Adam Haberski, a second-year member of the Student Chapter.

UAF

Members around the campfire in Denali.
Image Credit: Adam Haberski

The chapter is looking forward to continuing its kestrel nest box monitoring project this spring and to hopefully establishing a new long-term research project with the help of ADFG. Several members have been working on their travel grant proposals to present their research in Juneau this Spring at the Annual TWS Alaska Chapter Conference.

UAF Student Chapter members highly recommend these sorts of activities, particularly field work, to other students.

“Field work is the core of wildlife biology and the more experience students can get during their undergrad, the better. It will set them apart from other applicants when they apply for jobs or graduate school,” said Haberski.

Jessica Herzog, a first-year member of The Wildlife Society, thinks that being involved with the Student Chapter provides numerous beneficial opportunities.

“I recommend joining The Wildlife Society to become integrated into a beneficial community,” she said. “We learn, meet people, and help others all while experiencing wildlife and Alaska.”

For more information on the University of Alaska – Fairbanks Student Chapter visit their website.