By Rick Barth
Natural Resource Manager
Used with permission Fort Greely Interceptor
In 2015 the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) will be changing the requirements for the DM795 hunt for future hunting years. This change is the accumulation of a three year effort by Fort Greely DPW/Environmental staff in support of the SIKES ACT.
In simple terms the SIKES ACT states that a federal organization that has control over public lands and those lands have a recreational benefit, then those lands can be made available to the public as long as the military mission stays intact. The Purple Heart Moose hunt allows Fort Greely to live up to the intent of the SIKES ACT while still maintaining our operational controls and security requirements and continue meet the mission.
In the past the DM 795 hunt was for 50% disabled vets; residents and nonresidents alike. The exception was that the nonresident season opened 5 days after the resident and both were allowed to only harvest spike fork bulls or bulls greater than 50 inches or bulls with at least a 4 point brow tine. In 2012/13 Fort Greely made arrangements with successful hunters who drew either the DM790 or the DM795 to allow them limited access onto the installation to hunt moose IAW their permit only.
No hunters applied to hunt on post in 2012 and we had two successful DM795 hunters in 2013. One hunter used archery equipment and one used a crossbow and both hunters took Bull Moose. This year we had the honor of hosting Retired Marine 1SG Jamie Andries (Infantry). 1SG Andries is a 100% disable veteran who received a Purple Heart during his first deployment out of three to Iraq.
Safari Club International and Congressmen Don Young’s office helped sponsor the airfare for 1SG Andries trip. Missile Defense Agency was gracious enough to provide lodging for 1SG Andries, Delta Meat and Sausage also helped offset the cost of processing his venison. Many thanks to all of those who have helped in the success of this project. We are hoping, as we go into the future with this hunt that we can obtain more sponsors for each of the six annual hunters hosted by Fort Greely to help offset the cost to our hero hunters.
Starting in 2015 the requirements for the DM 795 have changed to Purple Heart recipients who are 100% disabled vets or 100% disabled active duty service members. Those who have success drawing a DM795 permit will not be allowed to reapply for four years. The hunt will be the same for both residents and nonresidents alike. The hunter will be allowed to harvest any moose with the exception of calves and or cow moose with calf.
The FGA Natural Resources Manager (Mr. Richard Barth) is also the hunting and fishing coordinator here on post. Fort Greely allows hunters who possess a DM790 permit to hunt with Archery equipment in only four of the designated Game Management Units that run along the Richardson Highway. Those hunters who draw the DM795 are allowed to hunt all open hunting areas on Fort Greely.
The Natural Resources Team will be placing three hunting blinds that were donated by RCI housing in key locations around the installation for these hunters during moose season. These blinds will also be available to the public for wildlife viewing opportunities during the off season.
Fort Greely and the ADF&G have worked hand in hand on this project. We cannot thank our local area ADF&G biologist, Darren Bruning enough for all the work and dedication he has committed to this project.