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Thread: North Slope Caribou - now must keep meat on bone. Why?!

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    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    Angry North Slope Caribou - now must keep meat on bone. Why?!

    In looking through the "what's new" section of the 2012-13 regs, I see that GMUs 24A and 25A now require that caribou meat must be left naturally attached to the bone of the front and hind quarters and ribs. These areas encompass the Dalton Highway (Haul Road) from a bit north of the Yukon all the way up to Atigun Pass. This regulation is similar to what they instituted in Unit 13 several years back. What is the purpose of this regulation?

    I have hunted the Dalton 4 times, bringing back meat 3 of the 4. All caribou were killed in GMU 26B; however, we did give the Chandalar Shelf a serious look two of the times, and this area is in unit 24A or 25A, depending on where you start and how far in you go. And every time, we have hiked (or skied) out the 5 miles in order to use rifles. It's a tough hunt, but it's a great hunt if you're up for it, and plenty of folks do it.

    Packing meat out the 5 miles is strenuous enough as it is. Now they have added the requirement that we need to pack out the bones too? Why? Did they consider the fact that these units affect people hiking in from the road? Will they add unit 26B next (the entire stretch from the top of Atigun Pass to Deadhorse)?

    I am planning to write a letter to the Board of Game bringing my discontent to their attention and asking for a justification for this new regulation. I would appreciate any support you can give me. Even the archery crowd should know about it, as some of you guys hike a little off the road for your caribou, and for even a mile in that tundra, any efficiency in pack weight would be welcome!

    Please let me know if you would like to help write or cosign my letter, or if you have some intel on why this regulation was imposed and what we can do to overturn it or limit its area to omit the vicinity of the Haul Road. Thanks!

    -Gr
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    that whole area has always confused me. With the small amount of bou taken and the high bag limits that never come close to meeting the "quota" you would think they would either lessen the corridor to say 1 mile or something to allow more oppurtunity for non bow hunters. I have yet to hear a valid reason for the corridor for the first place some site the pipeline but if that were the case there would be a corridor for the whole thing not just up there I dont get it.

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    I hunt for meat and leaving the meat on the bone is the best way to keep it from going bad.
    If carrying meat on a bone is too heavy to bring out, may be it time to leave the antlers behind?

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    Well, I think the corridor is more to protect people than the pipe. After all, the five miles is measured from the road, not the pipeline, and in a couple places, that makes about a mile of difference. When there are caribou close to the road, you can watch archers close in on them from all angles. With the way the rolling hills are, and the way people take skyline shots (I've seen this), I honestly don't think it's a bad idea to have some corridor. I think it could definitely be less, as you suggest, though, and still accomplish the same safety goals. One mile would make it so hoards of people wouldn't have immediate access to one group of animals. Making it five miles doesn't make it any safer, in my opinion, it just serves to discourage people from doing it. Maybe that's the intent? If so, given the abundance of the resource, we, as the hunting community, need to voice our opinion that the Board of Game should not be discouraging a hunt without due justification.

    So in any case, the corridor is not on the chopping block for me, but then again, the BoG should be able to provide justification for any regulation in the book. If it is reasonable, so be it. Otherwise, it should be overturned. A corridor to prevent people from shooting each other or hitting road vehicles? Fine. A 10 mile wide corridor? Perhaps excessive. Requiring hunters to pack bones out 5 miles? Ridiculous, imo. Again, I just ask why?

    It's one thing in Unit 13, with a single animal bag limit, to make sure people aren't taking the meat from two small caribou and pretending it's one. But when the bag limit is 5 and 10 caribou with no closed season (24A and 25A, respectively), I don't think people are hiking 14 caribou worth of meat over five miles of tundra and telling the troopers at the road it's only 10 animals! .... Then again, nothing surprises me these days, hehe...

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    I hunt for meat and leaving the meat on the bone is the best way to keep it from going bad.
    If carrying meat on a bone is too heavy to bring out, may be it time to leave the antlers behind?
    Have you done this hunt, by the way? How far do you hike your meat? I'm not assuming either way, I'm just curious. As for assuming, you assumed incorrectly that I brought the antlers out. Of the 8 bull caribou that have been harvested on my trips, not one set of antlers came back. And I have never had problems with meat spoiling. All my hunts have been pack-out, complete de-bone in the field.

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    The corridor has nothing to do with safety. It's only purpose is to reduce hunting pressure and provide a special interest hunting preference. The on the bone reg may be a response to reports of hunters not fully removing rib meat or perhaps not trimming as close to the bone as they probably should. The 5 mile corridor is ridiculous but is voraciously protected by local subsistence users and bow hunter organizations who enjoy their vast private hunting reserve. No one who benefits from the special use area seems to care that the harvest quota for the herd hasn't been met in years. If and when the herd gets to the point that they over populate, damage their range and crash then perhaps someone can bring up all the archived threads and failed BOG props on this topic to use as fodder to make appropriate changes.

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    I'd start with someone on the local AC. BoG reg changes generally start there.

    I would think the rationale for "meat on bone" regs in an area with high bag limits is more to discourage wanton waste than to discourage hunting.

    As much as we all try our best, I've seen a couple of boned out carcasses that had quite a lot of edible meat left on them. You can bone out meat properly in the field and not have an issue but the fact remains boned out meat is much more prone to spoilage than quarters and ribs on bone even with good care, and in the hands of someone inexperienced during warm weather boned out meat is precarious at best.

    Kudos to you for making the extra effort and hiking in but I'd suggest you look at the issue from a larger perspective. Perhaps a guy looking for a large rack and little experience with the field care of meat wouldn't be so conscious of such things?

    I hunt in 13 frequently and the meat on bone regs do prevent a lot of wanton waste there IMHO.

    Just my $.02
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    I would suggest contacting the Alaska Chapter of the BHA. They comment on most proposals and should be able to help you write a new proposal to change this.
    I'm sure Mark or Dave would be happy to help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    I would suggest contacting the Alaska Chapter of the BHA. They comment on most proposals and should be able to help you write a new proposal to change this.
    I'm sure Mark or Dave would be happy to help.
    LOL I did not know it was comedy hour on the forums... Yeah lets get BHA on board and have them write a prop to do away with the 5 mile corridoor (sp)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    The corridor has nothing to do with safety. It's only purpose is to reduce hunting pressure and provide a special interest hunting preference. The on the bone reg may be a response to reports of hunters not fully removing rib meat or perhaps not trimming as close to the bone as they probably should. The 5 mile corridor is ridiculous but is voraciously protected by local subsistence users and bow hunter organizations who enjoy their vast private hunting reserve. No one who benefits from the special use area seems to care that the harvest quota for the herd hasn't been met in years. If and when the herd gets to the point that they over populate, damage their range and crash then perhaps someone can bring up all the archived threads and failed BOG props on this topic to use as fodder to make appropriate changes.
    holy smokes tell us how you really feel about bow hunters. I guess first step would be get the North slope burrough on board. From what I read on here and heard from other folks they are the ones that are against to opening the 5 miles corridoor up to snow machines and lessening it to anything under 5 miles. I could only imagine what a circus it would be up there if they made it only two miles then clowns would be shooting caribou a 1 1/2 miles. Buy a bow get certified then head on up there. Its not a special club the state is not preventing you from doing the hunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    I hunt for meat and leaving the meat on the bone is the best way to keep it from going bad.
    If carrying meat on a bone is too heavy to bring out, may be it time to leave the antlers behind?
    1) Every hunter "hunts for meat." Period.
    2) "Leaving meat on the bone is the best way to keep it from going bad" is a one-sided, biased opinion.
    3) Why do you associate antlers with people not wanting to pack leg bones for miles? Do you assume that everyone who doesn't agree or adopt your meat-hunting-philosophy is a trophy antler hunter?

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    In Unit 23 this was instituted many years ago.

    The bone is good for soup, roasting and such, and my family loves the marrow, so your getting a good eat outa the deal. Useing a boat or snowgo, the haul to the vehicle isnt far, and most fellas here keep carcasses whole till they get home or to the place they process the meats , camp or a friends house.

    This rule was made due to wanton waste, when some Folks who fly in/fly out were cutting off far too much meat with the bones, and tossing them in the feild, as well as tossing the ribs too. There were several notable 'catches' of wanton waste'rs made of this kind by the FnG at the Kotzebue airport of nearly 1/3rd of the meat being left behind with the bones. Im sure there were some others "lightening the load" too, but the ones at the airport got the most attention

    One guy I met with from Alabama had 5 Caribou perfectly "debonned" and I was impressed!! Did it like a Hog they will bury and roast.......(He also pared it to the bone, no waste) and his meat was still in the skin..........something I think about now and then, just a cool tecnique!!
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    I completely agree that keeping the meat on the bone is going to prevent spoilage compare to people that do not take care of their boned meat, but I am with Gr on this one. This is not a 10 day float/fly-out hunt where we may not have certain luxuries. When I go to the Haul Road I walk out 5 miles and shot a bou for the freezer to make sure I have meat, then archery hunt for the rest of the time to try and put a little more meat away. All my bou are boned and I haul a freezer and generator all the way up the Haul Road for me and my hunting party. I know every one can't haul up a freezer but every one can't afford an ATV or a fly-out to help fill the freezer also. I also bring a meat pole and the animals we shoot with our bows are normally hung on the pole with the bone because the freezer is only 5 Cu Ft. All I'm saying is I would also hate to see 26B go to the meat on bone rule because many of us do take every scrap of meat we can get off our boned carcasses and do not lose an ounce of meat all the way home unless the tenderloins are in our belly's. The 5 miles with a 100+ lbs on your back for the first day and then another good load the next day is enough for me. I love this hunt but I would probably stop going if I had to carry bone for 5+ miles.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    holy smokes tell us how you really feel about bow hunters. I guess first step would be get the North slope burrough on board. From what I read on here and heard from other folks they are the ones that are against to opening the 5 miles corridoor up to snow machines and lessening it to anything under 5 miles. I could only imagine what a circus it would be up there if they made it only two miles then clowns would be shooting caribou a 1 1/2 miles. Buy a bow get certified then head on up there. Its not a special club the state is not preventing you from doing the hunt.
    I don't pull any punches. I support limited entry or limited success hunts to include youth and archery when they are appropriate. Safety being the clear justification for Archery in more populated areas that I do support. The extended season afforded by the additional Archery season in unit 14 is also a good example of a limited success hunt allowing for extended season where a longer rifle season would adversely affect the herd. What I don't and will never support is a 1000 square mile private archery hunting reserve where there is no safety or biological reason for it. In fact there will likely be a negative long term effect due to the low harvest of the CAH as it has more than doubled in the last decade and at last reporting is the largest it has been in recorded history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 350bull View Post
    I completely agree that keeping the meat on the bone is going to prevent spoilage compare to people that do not take care of their boned meat, but I am with Gr on this one. This is not a 10 day float/fly-out hunt where we may not have certain luxuries. When I go to the Haul Road I walk out 5 miles and shot a bou for the freezer to make sure I have meat, then archery hunt for the rest of the time to try and put a little more meat away. All my bou are boned and I haul a freezer and generator all the way up the Haul Road for me and my hunting party. I know every one can't haul up a freezer but every one can't afford an ATV or a fly-out to help fill the freezer also. I also bring a meat pole and the animals we shoot with our bows are normally hung on the pole with the bone because the freezer is only 5 Cu Ft. All I'm saying is I would also hate to see 26B go to the meat on bone rule because many of us do take every scrap of meat we can get off our boned carcasses and do not lose an ounce of meat all the way home unless the tenderloins are in our belly's. The 5 miles with a 100+ lbs on your back for the first day and then another good load the next day is enough for me. I love this hunt but I would probably stop going if I had to carry bone for 5+ miles.
    Right on the money, 350bull. As for the discussion on archery hunting, I am bow certified, and the last caribou I shot up there was with the bow. Happened to be 3.5 miles off the road, a bit further than most archers go, but we were ferrying meat back from a rifle kill, and let's just say it was an offer I couldn't refuse So I bow hunt, but I like having the flexibility of being able to use rifles if the numbers aren't in your favor.

    I guess the wanton waste issue is the closest thing to a legitimate argument that I can swallow, but it still makes me angry. The people that waste meat are going to continue to do it regardless of this regulation. It's a shame that half-hearted attempts to crack down on those doing it the wrong way end up penalizing those doing it the right way. I also don't think they were necessarily considering Haul Road hunters with these regulations. If they were, they would have included 26B, the unit where 90%+ of the Haul Road hunting exists. If you look at the map of 24A and 25A, the Haul Road crosses only a small portion. But if I were to go up there now, anything south of Atigun Pass would basically be out for walking out of the corridor, because of the need to hike out the bones. I just don't think that was the intent. Hopefully they can limit it to the areas they were trying to target.

    And yeah, Stranger, it would be no big deal if you could use a wheeler or a any other atv, but you can't, so it is a big deal. I do dig that you salvage every little bit, and even drop, of the animal, but for 5 rugged miles on your back, I can do without bone marrow soup!

    Thanks for the opinions and the advice on how to proceed. Any other ideas will also be welcome!
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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    holy smokes tell us how you really feel about bow hunters. I guess first step would be get the North slope burrough on board. From what I read on here and heard from other folks they are the ones that are against to opening the 5 miles corridoor up to snow machines and lessening it to anything under 5 miles. I could only imagine what a circus it would be up there if they made it only two miles then clowns would be shooting caribou a 1 1/2 miles. Buy a bow get certified then head on up there. Its not a special club the state is not preventing you from doing the hunt.
    Yeah, they ARE. Preventing me, but not the Archers.

    Of course, it's a "special club". That's why you're defending it.

    If you hadda go 5 miles, and the Gun Hunters didn't, you'd complain that it was unfair.

    Gr:
    For me, the 5 mile corridor is a problem, and that one is worth opposing.

    The "meat on the bone" isn't a bone of contention. I want the bones.

    The ribs are the best part. If I wasn't such a PP Hunter, I have more of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post

    And yeah, Stranger, it would be no big deal if you could use a wheeler or a any other atv, but you can't, so it is a big deal. I do dig that you salvage every little bit, and even drop, of the animal, but for 5 rugged miles on your back, I can do without bone marrow soup!

    Thanks for the opinions and the advice on how to proceed. Any other ideas will also be welcome!

    Glad ya caught that, Gr Greg. Bones add up and were fortunate here to be able to use ATV's ,songo's Boats and such. Your right about criminals still wasteing, regardless of law, and others suffering for it......kinda like gun control.

    Fly in guys are foot bound up this way, I know none that fly in ATV's, and I'm thinkin' thats why there were so many getting WW tickets at the airport.



    I have carried many a Caribou for many a mile, and thats a real consitteration before I shoot, especcially in my mid 40's when alone, is "how far am I gonna carry this guy?" to the boat or down to a snowgo from a ridge, ect. and why I was so impressed with the 'Boneless Caribou in Skin' I mentioned........would have carried out easily on a packboard, one trip. (I usually break it into two loads)
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    I don't have the book. I was told that they weren't out yet.

    I didn't find the regulation for the slope, online.

    BUT, in Unit 13, the "Meat on the Bone" restriction is "Prior to Oct 1"

    I was probably WRONG in thinking this was in effect because of the WEATHER. It gets plenty cold in September, and meat isn't likely to spoil if reasonable precautions are taken.

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  19. #19

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    Good argument from both sides:

    on one hand you have a narrow corridor that has up to 1500 harvested 'bou hunters each year, and state and fed officers report a growing number of meat care violations and/or concerns. Some trooper reports have suggested that approximately 200-300 cases each year could be cited for failure to salvage violation but result in warnings and education by the enforcement officer. And less than 100 citations are written overall, most are for rifle hunters inside the 5-miles, while others comprise the meat care handling practices.

    "Wanton waste" is completely different than "failure to salvage" (FTS) and FTS carries less harsh fines and penalties. We should all be aware of the differences in these terms and the implications.

    On the other hand you have roughly 1200-1300 hunters who do a good job with meat care during august and september (or don;t get caught otherwise). I have to constantly remind myself to remember that it takes only a few bad scenarios to make regulation changes justifiable. It's a hard pill to swallow when we're forced to work harder for our hard earned and well-planned pursuits for big game.

    In the bigger picture, i've weighed 'bou bones after removal at home, and i've learned that bone-requirements force the burden of only about 19 lbs of leg/rib bones said and done. In the short lens, 19 lbs is 19 lbs, but in a larger field of view, it means the difference of ounces of sweat equity to ensure that laws are abided by and that less-interested hunters simply have to man up and deal with the extra labor.

    In the end, if it makes my time with an enforcement officer go quicker and i followed the letter of law to a T, then what's the harm. But, in the Alaska True Grit F' the popo mentality, it does make me want to fight the system for my personal rights to be safegaurded.

    We're not all going to agree with every law, but there are guys and gals in our brotherhood that simply don't give a crap about game meat down to the ounce. Typical white-tail deer hunters leave the neck and rib meat on the carcass and role out, at least that's how I was raised. Different states have different laws, but at least we have the appeal system for guys that want to take the time to justify their fight in written or verbal testimony and make changes for future generations.

    In respect to game meat care, however, I have done extensive lab studies on aging game meat on and off the bone, and lab tests prove time and again that boned out meat bleeds more and houses more "bad" bacteria in warm/wet periods, so I'm in favor of meat on the bone for that small sector of our population that has less than stellar meat care practices.

    Anyway, long winded answer to a broad comment.

    cheers,

    larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    so I'm in favor of meat on the bone for that small sector of our population that has less than stellar meat care practices.
    Good points, Larry. However, those with "less than stellar meat care preactices", will waste meat on bone just as easily as off the bone.
    Those determined to bring good meat back, and all required,will do so in either case.

    Very few areas of Alaska have motorized restrictions for 5 miles. The addition of meat on bone along with the 5 mile corridor is just as likely to encourage FTS as prevent WW.
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