Emergency order closes part of Kodiak elk hunt after domestic elk escape from Burton ranch

Emergency closure to registration elk hunt RE755 announced Sunday night. (Map courtesy Alaska Department of Fish & Game)

A number of domestic, Rocky Mountain elk escaped from privately-owned land known as the Kodiak Game Ranch & Cattle Company in Pasagshak toward the end of last week. As a result, the Department of Fish and Game released an emergency order on Sunday night closing a portion of the registration elk hunt. The area included in the emergency order is essentially everything east of Kalsin and Pasagshak Bays.

According to Fish and Game Region II Management Coordinator Jeff Selinger, more than one domestic elk from the ranch were shot and killed by hunters. Selinger put the number at somewhere between one and five. He did not know how many domestic elk escaped or how many remain outside the ranch’s boundary fence.

According to Selinger, the registration hunt is targeted at wild Roosevelt elk that occasionally swim to Kodiak Island from elsewhere in the archipelago. He said it’s unusual to find them in that area around Pasagshak.

It’s still unclear how the elk escaped from the ranch, which is owned by the Burton family. In a Facebook post to the group Friends of Kodiak, Christine Burton claimed someone opened the ranch fance and ran the elk out on bikes, but Selinger was unable to confirm this. Burton has not yet returned a request for comment.