A Skagway man’s proposal to penalize goat hunters who target nannies, female goats, in the area hunt was approved by the Upper Lynn Canal Fish and Game Advisory Committee (AC) and the proposal will go before the Board of Game early next year.

Adam Smith, who came up with the proposal, asked the AC to write it in an effort to give it more credibility at next year’s Board of Game meeting.

“It just seems like things that come from the AC carry more weight with the Board of Game,” Adam Smith said of his proposal to prohibit hunters from hunting for one year if they shoot a nanny. “If nobody wants to go support it, I will. It would be nice to cosign or have some sort of support from the AC. If there was more local support it would carry more weight.”

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game discourages shooting nannies and prohibits killing nannies with kids. Females don’t breed until they are four to six years old and young goats have a high death rate. Females also don’t reproduce every year. The loss of too many females could cause a population decline to a level that allows little or no hunting opportunity, according to Fish and Game.

Between 2010 and 2015, nannies accounted for 36% of the goat harvest by resident hunters, according to Fish and Game data. Nannies accounted for nearly 10% of the non-resident harvest. Those numbers were 32% and 15% respectively between 2016 to 2021.

Fish and Game biologist Carl Koch said the hunt is managed by a point system. A harvested male billy goat is worth one point and a harvested nanny is worth two. Different hunting units allow a certain number of points to accrue before the hunt ends.

“For example, in an area with an estimated population of 100 goats, no more than six billies (six points) or three nannies (six points), or any combination of points not exceeding six per one hundred goats may be harvested,” Koch told the CVN. “If a hunter harvests a nanny, it disproportionately reduces the harvest opportunity for another hunter. This system helps ensure a sustainable population of mountain goats and also provides greater hunting opportunities for everyone.”

Advisory committee chair Tim McDonough questioned if penalizing nanny harvest would be too restrictive for subsistence hunters.

AC member Stuart DeWitt said it’s the responsibility of subsistence hunters to conserve wildlife.

“If you want to go subsistence hunting, that’s your job as a subsistence hunter, to make sure the population is sustainable, not just to feed your family but to make sure it’s there for future generations,” DeWitt said. “I have no problem with the penalty. It’s not a big penalty. Maybe next year you’ll try a little harder.”

The AC unanimously voted to write and submit the proposal to the Board of Game.

Koch said the Board of Game will decide on any proposed changes to hunting regulations after they “consider agency reviews and public comments. The advisory committee plays an important role.”