Please Respect Your Neighbors
I found this ADF&G Division of Wildlife Conservation weblink and thought that it was appropriate for this forum. Information found here could also be applied elsewhere in the State where there are native lands and people.
Please Respect Your Neighbors
Your 'wilderness' is someone else's backyard
While the wilderness of northwestern Alaska may feel vast and empty, it has been the homeland of the local Inupiat Eskimos for thousands of years. Each bluff, ridgeline, mountain, and bend in the river likely carries an ancient name and has seen thousands of years of seasonal use. Some of these lands are now privately owned by individuals, or local and regional Native corporations - and they have the right to control the use of these lands. Please respect the rights of private landowners and don't trespass on private lands or subsistence camps, even if they do not appear to be in use.
Be informed about land ownership boundaries
Land ownership in the Kotzebue region is a mix of private, Native corporation, state and federal ownership. Some public-use lands are open only to subsistence hunting by local residents, while others are open to all hunters. The Western Arctic National Parklands office in Kotzebue has detailed information on land ownership and is happy to assist you. You can call them at (907) 442-3809, e-mail them at Wear_Webmail@nps.gov, or visit them in their Kotzebue office during normal work hours.
Other land managers with offices in Kotzebue are the NANA Regional Corporation at (907) 442-3301; the Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation (KIC) at (907) 442-3165; the Northwest Arctic Borough at (907) 442-2500, and Selawik National Wildlife Refuge at (907) 442-2-3799 or 800-492-8848. In Fairbanks you can reach the Bureau of Land Management at (907) 474-2200 or 800-437-7021, and Alaska Department of Natural Resources at (907) 451-2705.
The fall subsistence harvest is critical
Autumn is a critical time for local subsistence hunters and their families to harvest meat. They hunt mainly using boats along major rivers and tributaries. In contrast, most visiting hunters charter airplanes to access hunting sites. Although large, smooth gravel bars make attractive landing areas for small airplanes, be aware that most good hunting locales along major rivers have probably been used by Inupiat hunters for generations. Ask your pilot-transporter not to locate you near areas used by subsistence hunters, and to avoid flying low over all hunting camps.
Maintaining traditional caribou migration patterns is critical
While it's not something individual hunters necessarily have control over, also be aware that there is growing concern by local people that the increasing frequency of small planes passing overhead, and the increasing number of hunter camps may be altering the traditional migration patterns of the caribou. The location of villages and subsistence campsites have been chosen based on these historic routes and people fear that any unnatural influences on the herd's routes may affect local hunters' ability to harvest their yearly meat. Once again, asking your pilot-transporter or guide to place you far from other hunters and local subsistence camps will help ease tensions.
Appreciating and respecting local knowledge
Traditional hunting practices have evolved over time to allow for the harvest of caribou without displacing their historic migration routes. Respecting these local practices makes good sense, and is good for hunter relations.
Avoid disturbing the migration
If hunting along rivers crossed by migrating caribou, camp and hunt on the opposite side from which the caribou enter the water. This helps prevent disruption of their normal movements, and keeps you from deflecting animals away from other hunters.
Go for 'trophy meat'
The best trophy bulls don't always produce the best - or even edible - meat, but all hunters are still required to salvage all of the meat regardless of its quality.
As caribou bulls go into rut, hormonal changes give their meat a strong odor and flavor. This occurs in early October. At that time subsistence hunters shift from taking bulls, especially large bulls, to cows or small bulls. Although there is no closed season on bull caribou, it is considered poor practice to harvest a large bull during the rut. It would be considered offensive and disrespectful to offer local people meat from a rutty bull caribou.
Although the rut does not affect the flavor or odor of meat from bull moose, large bulls almost stop eating at this time and quickly utilize their fat reserves. At the same time, fighting and antler thrashing makes their meat tough. Additionally, moose dig rutting pits in which they urinate and wallow, and their hair becomes saturated with urine-soaked mud. It is difficult to avoid transferring the urine on the hair to the meat while butchering a rutty bull. For these reasons most Inupiaq hunters do not harvest bull moose during the rut, and as with bull caribou, it would be considered offensive and disrespectful to offer local people meat from a rutty bull moose.
Consider sharing bear fat and meat
Meat and fat from both brown and black bears is prized by residents of some inland villages within Unit 23. The law requires that only the hide and skull be salvaged from brown bears taken under general season or drawing hunts, although you must salvage the meat if hunting under the brown bear subsistence registration hunt RB700. From June 1 through Dec. 31, either the hide or the meat of black bears must be salvaged and removed from the field. However, there are local residents who consider it disrespectful and wasteful to leave bear meat in the field.
If you think you might take a bear during your hunt but will not want the meat, consider inquiring locally before you go out to camp to see if anyone would like to receive bear meat should you happen to take one. It would be an appreciated gesture. In the smaller villages you could check at the City Office, village store or the post office for suggestions on who to contact.
And remember: nonresidents must have a guide to hunt brown/grizzly bears in Alaska.