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Thread: Western Arctic Herd: New rules/possible closure in 2017?

  1. #1
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    Default Western Arctic Herd: New rules/possible closure in 2017?

    http://www.adn.com/wildlife/article/...-0/2015/12/19/

    I just read this while doing some research for our 2018 trip. I found interesting is the verbage being used by village residents, it was the same language being used in another thread describing non village residents.....non local hunters. It is also stated that non local hunters are harvesting less than 5% of the total harvest. If there is that much of a concern over the herd, then would it not stand to reason that regulations on the 95% of the total harvest would have a greater effect and be more meaningful in the long run towards herd dynamics and herd health?

    To an outsider whom is very familiar with natural resource politics, and selfish user groups...something doesn't seem to add up. It appears to be similar in nature to the play book that has been run in the closure of 23 GMU.

    Here at home, 5% or less impact on our white tail herd is a non starter when it comes to regulation change. That is very close to the impact of youth hunters on a 2 day special hunt for kids, but yet there are those upset with kids having a 2 day hunt just for them.

    We have almost as many deer hunters in my home state, as you do here in Alaska total residents.

    If caribou are similar to deer in how female cohort affects population size and replacement, maybe shooting of cows needs to be curtailed on all user groups, locals inlcuded until the herd rebounds to some degree?

    I will be watching this closely, as the Western Arctic Herd is the particular herd we are interested in coming up to hunt.

  2. #2

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    you are absolutely correct in your findings. the local harvest is not recorded. meaning those who live north of the Yukon do not have to report harvest. it is only estimated! the non-resident and non-local harvest is reported.

    Also no one in charge of management (state/feds) have not calculated the wounding loss. this is a very import factor, when Alaskan are allowed to use snow machines to run and gun. I have seen data that says the wounding loss on dall sheep is 10%. this is on a population that is selective harvest and 1 full curl bag limit for the most part.
    I would gather to say the wounding loss for the WACH is the total of the non-resident, non-local harvest combined.
    I also believe the bull/cow harvest ratio is not correct either.

    hope you do get to come up here and hunt.

  3. #3
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    Local harvest information is collected by the AK dept of FnG and the NWABorough has subsistence surveyors who collect the information, in person, from each and every household, every year. (907) 442-2500 and ask for Zach, the subsistence co-ordinator, I dont have Kotz's ADFnG # so google it and get correct info. Unlike the ADFnG, if you do not fill out the report with the subsistence servayor, there are no legal consequences, but I have yet to hear of anyone not taking an hour and going over their hunting.

    It is illegal to "Run and Gun" Caribou, or any other animals.

    Running and gunning Sheep would be quite a feat, even though quite illegal.


    Only when you have a wounded animal may you directly persue them with the snowgo.
    You must stop and shoot if you are on a snowgo, anyone with 2 hours or more of riding time knows this is obvious.This is both a legal and a practical matter; Shooters do so cant hit fecal matter from a moving snowgo 99% of the time, especially a moving target.....legally, however, Reindeer herders, who own domestic stock and do as they please with them, often pick their stray meats running with Caribou by applying the shot when the barrel touches the Reindeer's neck at 35mph or so and its no easy task , either, but its legal in that situation , only.

    If you have any Caribou hunting experience , you would know that Caribou are always moving. The first shot may be at a still animal, but subsequent shots will be at moving Caribou.They put distance between the themselfs and their attackers ASAP. They then head for the hills , literally, and it is best to take a snogo and position yerself atop such hills and await the coming animals. Quite legal.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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  4. #4

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    well, not everything you state is true. Household surveys are NOT done every year in every village. The household that did participate in the household survey may not have been the household who did any harvesting.
    those that reside north of Yukon river are by regulation suppose to register to hunt caribou. with the exception of the Kots and Nome area, there is basically no compliance with this.

    2. we all know what the regulations on positioning your snow-go are. But we also know what really goes on in the field.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Here is Michigan
    http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7...8543--,00.html

    My folk had plenty till the special intrest groups showed up
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Households that do not hunt also participate in yearly surveys here in the NWAB villages, every year, the same as those that do. I'd think they just have less to say.

    The feds also do bird harvest survays, come to think of it, every year. Comes in the mail.

    The ADFnG here will call you to get harvest reports done and to get info.

    As really happens, If you shoot from a moving snowmachine you'll very soon learn that while it may be exciting, its very unproductive, and move on to better methods or be frustrated with poor results........... teens on machines and inexperianced morons come to mind.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Here is Michigan
    http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7...8543--,00.html

    My folk had plenty till the special intrest groups showed up
    Respectfully, I question the wisdom in regulation where an individual no matter whom they are, taking 5 caribou a day including cows during an extremely long season. If the herd can sustain it, that is one thing, but if it cannot and to point finger at a different group whose impact is less than 5% on the resource......isn't even reasonable. I would surmise that a great deal of economic benefit would dry up, if that small impact group were to be excluded. I know my group is looking at a total expenditure of 30k or greater when we come up to visit, and that is just one group of guys.

  8. #8

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    human harvest is substainable if harvest data is correct. yes the season is long. this is because the range of the herd is vast, the range is as large as your state of Michigan. So when the herd is in the far north of its range, the communities in that area do there harvesting. as the year progress the herd migrates south and thus those communities harvest.
    Communities do not have access to the herd all year, just when they are close to the village. there are no roads, only rivers, snow machines and some 4 wheeler when they are close to the village. Also the cost of fuel in the villages limits how far the hunters can travel to the caribou.

    Reason for decline:
    A. weather; this area over the last couple of years had spring icing on the range. this made it very difficult for caribou to feed when they most needed it.
    B. predation; bears and wolves are the primary predators. Because the range is so large and vast. the managers have a difficult time of documenting the impact. but there is an impact.
    C. Caribou herds climb in population to a all-time high and then crash very quickly. this is well documented in Alaska and Canada, with no document reason why, but there are some theories by scientist.
    D. wounding loss.
    These are the 4 reasons managers believe are the most likely the decline in the population.

    the reason for the closer to non-residents and non-locals is purely political! With two management systems ( State and Federal) in the area. The local communities did not like the State's management plan, so the file a an action with the Federal system and got there way. As you have pointed out and many others also have, the non-resident and non-local harvest does not impact the population, nor will it be a factor in increasing the population.
    Yes there will be an economic impact to the region.
    This is a very short response to your concerns that are valid.

  9. #9
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Can anyone confirm the northern Grizzly population of 1 Griz per square mile? If that is a true number up north - well, that is a lot of Griz and Griz eat caribou up that way I bet.

  10. #10

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    I am very confident that 1 grizz per square mile is not true. that statistic is common on Kodiak, which ADF&G claim to have the highest density for the state.
    So I would say the north slope density is much much lower.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    I would have to agree...... That's a massive amount of sq. miles and that would have to be a massive amount of bears.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    What does this years count show? A friend talked to some of the pilots doing the counts. Maybe I remember wrong and it is 1 for 10sq mi??


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  13. #13

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    Units 25A, 25B, and 25D. The current estimate of brown bears in Units 25A, 25B, and 25D is based on the 1993 estimate of approximately 1,200 brown bears (2.4 bears/100 mi2; Table 1). Availability of habitat for brown bears in this area has not changed substantially since 1993, harvest was below 5%, and in most years the harvest included ≤40% females. Thus, it is likely that bear densities remained unaffected by reported harvest. There is a possibility the population increased in Unit 25D or expanded to new habitat because local residents on the Yukon River observed more brown bears along the river corridor recently compared to years prior to 2000. Units 26B and 26C. The current estimate of 265 brown bears (1.7 bears/100 mi2) in Unit 26B was based on a double-count line transect population estimate conducted in a portion of Unit 26B during 19992003 (H. Reynolds, Wildlife Biologist, ADF&G, unpublished data, Fairbanks). The study area (3,935 mi2) consisted of the foothills and mountains <4,000 feet and resulted in an estimate of 186.5 34% (95% CI) bears. Sixty-six bears were estimated north of the study area on the coastal plain (9,848 mi2), and 12 bears were estimated for areas >4,000 feet (1,733 mi2). The current population estimate for Unit 26C is based on the 1993 estimate of approximately 390 brown bears. Availability of habitat for brown bears in this area has not changed substantially since 1993. Harvest has been below 5% since 1993 and, in most years, the harvest included ≤40% females. Thus, it is likely that bears were unaffected by reported harvest.

  14. #14
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Ok. So best case I was only off 100 times.............


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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Here is Michigan
    http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7...8543--,00.html

    My folk had plenty till the special intrest groups showed up
    Nice.

    one day closer to alaska.
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

    Edwin Hubble

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