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Thread: WAC change in NR tags?

  1. #1

    Default WAC change in NR tags?

    Any idea if there are any proposals to go back to 2 Caribou for Non Residents in Units out of Kotzebue? I have heard of some rumbling from people in that area that it should go back to 2 Caribou come 2009?

    Any feedback guys?

    Steveo

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default GMU 23 proposals

    Quote Originally Posted by Steveo View Post
    Any idea if there are any proposals to go back to 2 Caribou for Non Residents in Units out of Kotzebue? I have heard of some rumbling from people in that area that it should go back to 2 Caribou come 2009?

    Any feedback guys?

    Steveo
    Steve,

    I am very disappointed in the reduction in bag limits for nonresident caribou in GMU 23. It is not rooted in actual science, or solid game management principles as far as I have seen. It appears to be purely political. Unless someone can come forward with a really good defense of this reduction, that supports the ADFG mandate of maintaining our game resources for sustainable yield, I plan to introduce a proposal to raise the limit back to five bulls. The current regulation is discriminatory and punitive toward non resident hunters who are, by the way, paying the lion's share of the cash used to support the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

    We have certainly had a meat care issue up in the Arctic, however the proper way to manage that is by better enforcement of our wanton waste laws-- not by keeping hunters from hunting federal lands that belong to the general public.

    I am open to hearing contrary arguments on this issue, and could be persuaded if other facts are brought forth. If that does not occur, I am open to co-sponsoring a proposal to return to the former bag limit, which is in alignment with the sustained yield mandate. Anybody out there want to participate? This is my first foray into this process, so I will need some direction. I am also willing to travel to Kotzebue (or wherever) to testify to this effect.

    Best regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  3. #3

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    To asnwer your question, I haven't heard anything so far about them changing it back to 2 caribou per person for non-residents.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    To asnwer your question, I haven't heard anything so far about them changing it back to 2 caribou per person for non-residents.
    I went through all 77 BOG proposals and as AK stated, there wasn't anything there to change the limit. BoG has an agenda and it looks like, in their last meeting (Jan 08) they did statewide proposals only. The aganda did not mention Unit 23 or the WAH.

    As far as Kotzebue is concerned, it would probably help immensely if there was more cooler/freezer space up there for people to store meat. Currently Alaska Airlines states they have a cooler and freezer there but it gets overwhelmed and they have restricted hours. NAC states they do nopt have chill/freeze facilities at most of their hubs so I don't know if they have any in Kotzebue or not.

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    Default WACH bou

    Our local subsistence board had a lot to do with reducing the bag limit and I have a friend who is on that board. There is talk on the board but it still is wrapped up in the politics of the region. I think it will change back but I donít know when it will happen. The silly thing is as a Alaskan resident I can shoot 5 animals per day on state lands and 15 a day on federal lands but a guy from Colorado can only take one? And the units that surround unit 23 are a bou units and the animals are the same animals.

    Walt
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    Default Uh, Mike...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Strahan
    ...I plan to introduce a proposal to raise the limit back to five bulls.
    Mike, before I offer any opinion on the above quote, was that a typo and you meant to say "back to two bulls"?

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    Default

    Mike, the next BoG meeting to deal with unit 23 proposals will be in Nov. 09. The results of that meeting will not take effect until the 2010-11 regulatory year. You have lots of time to research and write your proposal. GOOD LUCK. The locals will oppose any such proposal, not because they necessarily don't want you hunting there (btw Mike, the one bou limit doesn't STOP anyone from hunting on any fed land in unit 23), but because they don't want to see a repeat of the waste so prevalent in the past. You've written here many times yourself, about that issue. I still can't get over you opposing such a commen sense solution to the waste problem. Why does a sport hunter, mostly hunting for a trophy, need to shoot 2 bou? The situation in Kotz was worse than any other area that accesses a caribou herd, unless maybe Anch. was worse during the mulchatna heyday. The BoG passed the one proposal that would most easily correct or have an effect on, the waste problem.
    It would be great if unit 23 could go back to 2 bou per non res. There certainly isn't a biological reason not to. Unfortunately, there is a valid political reason and that is the excessively visible waste problem in Kotz. As one who supports a good image of hunters, I'm surprised your so vocal about this particular issue.
    I'm also surprised you don't know more about the BoG process.
    Walt, these are state regs. The subsistence RAC is federal. 2 different entities. Your probably thinking of your local ADVISORY COMMITTEE. That is exactly the entity that is going to oppose Mr. Strahans proposal. When they do, it will have literally zero chance of passing. Also Walt, as you well know, the units that surround Kotz DON'T have the hub town (Kotz) that funnels hundreds of hunters into the field each fall. So the waste problem, or it's visibility, isn't as evident. Oh, and Walt, your part of the problem up there.......by funneling your own bunches of hunters into the field, so your opposition to the one bou per non res hunter is also odd. Except for the fact that it probably effects your pocket book.
    There is plenty of opportunity to hunt bou in parts of unit 26, during sept. and get either 2 bou per hunter, or 5 bou per hunter. If any of you guys want more than one, go to 26. Otherwise, play by the rules and help manage the hunters image in the Kotz area.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default WACH Information

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Mike, before I offer any opinion on the above quote, was that a typo and you meant to say "back to two bulls"?
    Hello Mark,

    Good catch. I meant to say "five caribou", which is what the limit has been for many years, until someone started monkeying with it two seasons ago. I have copies of nearly all of the hunting regulations, going back to 1990, and noticed that the non-residents had a reduced bag limit thrust upon them for the first time in the 2006-2007 regulation booklet #47. So this is a recent change.

    You are well aware that the Western Arctic Caribou Herd (WACH) is the largest caribou herd in the state, with nearly a half-million head. Therefore, there is no biological justification for this change.

    If the numbers of animals were severely depressed, I would have no problem with reduced bag limits. I have preached long and hard that when resources are thin, priority should go to local users (native or not; I don't necessarily endorse racial preference). Then it goes to Alaska residents, to non-residents, then last of all to commercial folks (guides and such).

    I have also said in print many times that I believe we all should defer to other users when we encounter them in the field (regardless of who they are), even going so far as to encourage hunters to avoid shooting migrating caribou until after they exit the river. At that point, I have said, hunters should take their game and move on so others can hunt the same area. This was said in recognition of the fact that local hunters use these migration corridors as a place to gather meat for the winter. I have also said in print that hunters should forego hunting within several miles of a village, or whenever they start to see local hunters on the river during their float hunts. So my opinion about deference to local users is well documented, and I have the highest respect for them. But in this case, we don't have a depressed animal population.

    Is this a land ownership issue? Are non local hunters trespassing on private property? I checked my land ownership maps and as near as I can tell, with the exception of some parcels near and downstream of Noatak village, some parcels out toward Point Hope, and some parcels along the middle and lower Kobuk River, the entire GMU is federal and state land!

    So... the population of caribou is healthy. Most hunters in the area are finding game in abundance. It is public land. Why, then, would we want to reduce the number of tags issued to non-residents? Why, indeed?

    I have heard that the justification for this regulatory change is the same one brought forth in the late 1980's that resulted in the no-fly zone on the Noatak from Sapun Creek to the mouth of the Noatak; namely, that the airplane activity disrupts the caribou migration. I have seen no hard data to support that claim, nor have I ever heard if such data actually exists. If this argument cannot be supported with facts, one must look to other motives for locking these areas up.

    So I did that and heard that the changes were intended to curb rampant wanton waste by non local hunters. Notice I said "non local"; not "non resident". While I do not dispute that some pretty despicable examples of wanton waste have been written about in this website and elsewhere, and I myself have railed against this practice time and time again, I do not believe the solution to it lies with shutting the place down. I thought we were smarter than that. Don't we have laws against wanton waste? Are we not enforcing those laws? This is like saying that since people are getting themselves killed driving on the freeways, we're going to cut the non locals down to driving on the freeway only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It's absurd. Folks who are wasting game meat (and yes, I mean ALL of the folks who are wasting game meat-- including the locals) should be taken to task for it and prosecuted under our present laws. But that's part of the problem, isn't it? Is there anyone living in the Bush that has not seen wasted game meat in the villages? If we're going to take a hard line on this issue, let's at least be consistent. The wanton waste argument is a hard one to take, when this has been a problem brought on by local hunters as well. We need to manage the waste issue by prosecuting the few hunters doing it; not by shutting everyone out. If anyone wants my opinion on this, I strongly suspect that the real motive has nothing to do with wanton waste at all. I suspect it has a lot more to do with a desire by some, to keep non local hunters out. I believe they are using the waste issue to accomplish a different agenda.

    I want to know why, and I intend to find out.

    If someone out there has additional information on this, I would sure like to hear it. Hopefully before I waste a lot of time building a case for the return of a five-caribou limit for non resident hunters.

    Having said all that, I want to reiterate my high regard for our native peoples, for the love our native elders have for the land and its resources, and for all the good people of Alaska (wherever they live), who want these issues to be solved in a spirit of fairness to all.

    -Mike
    Last edited by Michael Strahan; 02-07-2008 at 20:28.
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  9. #9

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    You think it mught have something to do with more than half of the non-res Caribou hunters wanting nothing to do with the meat and the piles of "donated" meat spoiling in obvious places got a little attention?

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    Smile Mark:

    Much of what you have said is right on and I agree with most of it, butÖ

    I actually see my operation as part of the solution rather than adding to the waste problem. I work very hard at educating my groups as to what to expect when they get up here and how to plan so their hunt is enjoyable and successful. I also spend lots of time explaining proper meat care and how important it is that they take responsibility of their meat and donít expect to donate it to the locals. We are working on changing perceptions and I think it is working. And no it is not affecting my check book as my business has grown steadily over the past 4 years and I am in the process of turning hunters away because I am almost full. Last year I filled up in April and its 2 months early. A lot has to do with people expecting more from my service and getting it where they sometimes donít from others.

    Most of the perception that it is tough to hunt out of Kotz is because some hunters do not do their homework and expect services to be waiting for them and they donít ask enough questions, ďjust put me in front of the animalsĒ Guys who do their homework have a good hunting experience and leave Kotz happy, but it takes work and that is where I come in.

    Thanks for your plug Mark!

    Walt
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Thanks, Walt!

    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska View Post
    I actually see my operation as part of the solution rather than adding to the waste problem...
    Walt,

    I appreciate what you are doing to help turn some of this around. There's really no reason why this cannot work. The first hunt I ever did out of Kotzebue involved three of us. We shot seven caribou and three moose and lost nothing to spoilage, nor did we have to give any of the meat away because we could not move it home in time to prevent spoilage. It can be done.

    I hear too many stories of wanton waste, and it tells me that many hunters have no idea how to properly care for their meat in the field. It's not that difficult. We figured out most of it by ourselves. You just have to be very careful and think about what you're doing. It's not rocket science; it's mostly about caring.

    Anyway, thanks again for your hard work up there; I hope we can improve the situation for our non resident friends who want to hunt the Arctic.

    Best regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  12. #12

    Default Root Cause

    Reference the conversations about multiple tags being restricted due to watse:

    The root cause to meat waste is partly a cultural difference between the urbanite and the subsistence folks. In the lower 48 we are programmed...if you don't like something, throw it away and get a new one. Waste is easy then if you don't respect it.

    Locals need the caribou and respect it for what it provides them. I was amazed to find school course outlines on-line from the smaller villages that described the caribou anatomy in detail and then discuss what it provides them. That's how much they need and respect the game.

    The solution to potential waste is to make us take the meat home or at least make it hard to expect to leave it...i.e., make us identify who we will leave it with by name before we ever get there.

    Walt discussed this issue with me when I started planning my trip and I decided to bring back anything we take...yeah its going to be costly but its the right thing to do. It will force me to really take care of it then during the trip. And, I doubt a local resident would really need my caribou if they can harvest multiple animals for subsistence.

    As for multiple tags...if I could buy 2, I would. I have never seen a caribou and would like the chance to better the antler size if I screwed up and took one that was smaller. But, I would still bring back both.

  13. #13

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    Mike, I don't understand why you want to change the regs back to 5 caribou for non residents when 2 is plenty. Talk about waste, if non-residents shoot 5 caribou, are they taking the meat home too?? 5 is way to many, even for me it's to many.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Mike S., my thoughts

    Mike S.,

    First off, I want to thank the other Mike (martentrapper) for his post. He and I don't always agree but he is one of the most knowledgeable guys on here about our game management system and what is going on over there in NW Alaska. In that regard, he can provide valuable insight into things in that region...I would talk to both him and Walt privately to get their thoughts.

    I would not support any proposal to return the bag limit to five caribou unless residents in that area, the WACH Working Group, and ADFG also supported it. Two bulls, yes, but five caribou...no. To even promote such a thing is imo to cause wanton waste. We must look at the reality of the situation there, what air transporters there still are, what storage/cooling capacity is there, and base decisions also on recent history and what is causing the tensions between locals and non-locals. To say that we just need more enforcement is imo naive. Where is the funding for this added enforcement going to come from? And say we did put more enforcement out there and indeed we did get a lot more wanton waste by upping the bag limit to five caribou and Wildlife Troopers busted every single hunter or transporter who "wasted" game...where does that leave us? How does that improve the situation? How does that reflect on hunters overall? How does it ease tensions?

    In the past when this issue has arisen I have posted a link to the WACH Working Group caribou trails newsletter. I suggested folks like you contact the working group and contact ADFG bios in that region. I also explained how not all of our regs are based on biological necessities but also on allocation preferences and social issues. Some regs are intended to curb overcrowding even if that crowding doesn't relate to overharvests. Not all of these regs are ones I agree with, but I am just stating how things are.

    If anyone wants to attempt to change the current one-bull-only reg for non-residents, then imo the way to go about that would be to enter into discussion with the regional ACs, the WACH working group, and ADFG staff and locals, transporters and guys like Walt who participate in the whole business of hunting. Get their opinion before posting here that "they are using the waste issue to accomplish a different agenda." (I am really saddened to see you say such a thing; it is non-productive and only stirs up tensions.)

    The waste issue is/was real. We can't curb that issue with enforcement alone. What I see happening is that this newer one-bull-only reg for non-residents was an attempt to stop the waste now while engaging in an education program for all hunters and basically putting out notice to transporters and others that unless this is greatly curtailed then the reg won't be changed back. And it is highly unlikely it will changed back to five caribou, so imo that is shooting for the moon and really stands no chance of passing.

    And here's something to think on. If NAC did not ship meat from Kotz to Anch for free if it is donated to the food bank, would any non-res hunter really want to take five caribou?

    As always, I mean this sincerely...and don't want to come off as "bashing" you on a personal level. I am not. Again, my advice is to do some research, more homework, talk to those in that region as I suggested and go over all the WACH Working Group goings-on. Good luck, and feel free to drop a line if you want further info. I do believe that if WACH numbers stay up that we can go back to the two-bull bag limit for non-res if everyone works together cooperatively.

    (and PS, I want to clarify that I think Walt meant to say "Mike" in his post and not use my first name.)
    Best,

  15. #15
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Caribou limit

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    Mike, I don't understand why you want to change the regs back to 5 caribou for non residents when 2 is plenty. Talk about waste, if non-residents shoot 5 caribou, are they taking the meat home too?? 5 is way to many, even for me it's to many.
    John,

    I understand what you're saying. For you and I, we might choose to limit ourselves to one or two animals. For many of us, one is more than enough. But should the State of Alaska have the right to tell any of us how much is enough? What if they decide that one moose is way too much meat for a family with no children? Should they have the right to tell you that you can only shoot one every two or three years? I don't think so.

    Do you want the state to tell you how many cans of beer you can drink in your house? How many kids you can have? How large your Christmas turkey should be? How much money you should make? How large a house is "enough" for you? What kind of car you should drive, and the gas mileage it should get? All of these are extensions of the same principle; that of the state telling you how to run your life.

    So for me, an argument based on how many animals you or I think is "enough" doesn't really work. What if the guy has a huge family, or relatives who want the meat? We are out of line if we impose our standard of how much is too much on other hunters, in my opinion.

    It is not my place, nor is it the place of the State of Alaska, to tell other hunters how much meat is "enough". The job of ADFG is to maintain our big-game populations for sustainable yield (with increased hunting opportunities specifically in mind). Non residents have been allowed to harvest five caribou in GMU 23 for many years, and I don't recall anyone complaining about that then. What has changed? Two years ago it was cut to two, and last year it went to one caribou for non residents. Why?

    This regulation makes no sense, and is, in fact, costing ADFG a lot of money. It will eventually cost you and I a lot of money too. Let's do the math: For you and I, we can legally shoot three black bears, two brown bears, at least five caribou, five deer, a Dall sheep, an elk, a bison, a Rocky Mountain goat, and several wolves and wolverines, in a given year, for a grand total of about $75 in license and tag fees, depending on the GMUs you are hunting. A non resident will pay over $6000 just for the licenses and tags, plus guide fees for several of the animals. Soooo... if we push our non resident hunters out of Alaska, ADFG will see a serious revenue drop (ADFG is supported entirely by license and tag sales). What do you think will happen then? You guessed it! Increased resident license and tag fees! And we're not talking small increases, oh no! It may start out small, but will creep up and up and up, just like everything else. Right now the residents of Alaska are cutting a pretty fat hog, and have been for many years. I don't think it's in our best interest to encourage regulations that push our non resident hunters out to Canada or someplace else.

    Really, how many folks from Outside are going to travel all the way to Kotzebue to shoot a single caribou bull, when they could go to Canada for close to the same money, shoot several animals, and have a much better chance of taking something that makes the record book? Oh sure, you'll get a few that just want to experience Alaska's Arctic, and they'll have a wonderful time. But the bulk of the non resident hunters are interested in taking game. In the present situation, we have all but cut non residents out of hunting the largest caribou herd in the state of Alaska.

    One is enough? Yes, it is. A limit of one caribou is enough to send many of our non resident hunters to Canada.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  16. #16

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    Gotta disagree with you Mike, if nonresident hunters came up here and all shot 5 caribou each, how long do you think the population will survive? I can't obtain a bison tag, musk ox, elk, or goat tag over the counter, those require draws or registration so that doesn't make any sense either. If a non resident needs the meat, flying to Alaska and shooting 5 caribou is going to cost him a fortune to get all of it back, not even mentioning the cost of the hunt itself. He's better off buying a whole butchered steer for that kind of money. The state of Alaska has a duty to protect our wildlife and impose limitations on game animals so we have healthy populations for years to come. Keep the limit to 2 for non residents, I think thats more than fair.

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    Default part of the solution?

    No one on here are really part of the solution. The only ones that really care if that area goes back to 2 or more bou for Non resident hunters are the ones that have someting to gain. Your average Alaskan hunter that goes in that direction to hunt couldnt give a rats ass if someone from Ohio is allowed to shoot two bou, I know I dont. But I do give care about the lack of respect that so many hunters (ALaskan and non alike) show towards our state.

    If the outfitters, guides, and planning services want to be part of the solution do something about cold storage problem in Kotz. No one wants to jump on that one because it costs money, and after all, money talks

    So Mike, go on and pretend to be a stout support of the non resident hunter, but until you put your money where your mouth is, all this talk is just a joke

  18. #18
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Well...

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    Gotta disagree with you Mike, if nonresident hunters came up here and all shot 5 caribou each, how long do you think the population will survive? I can't obtain a bison tag, musk, elk, or goat tag over the counter, those require draws or registration so that doesn't make any sense either. If a non resident needs the meat, flying to Alaska and shooting 5 caribou is going to cost him a fortune to get all of it back, not even mentioning the cost of the hunt itself. He's better off buying a whole butchered steer for that kind of money. The state of Alaska has a duty to protect our wildlife and impose limitations on game animals so we have healthy populations for years to come. Keep the limit to 2 for non residents, I think thats more than fair.
    John,

    The case you make just doesn't stand in the face of facts. The non resident caribou limit in GMU 23 has been five for most of the last two decades. During that time, the herd population actually INCREASED.

    Truth is, most non residents don't shoot five caribou. Tags are expensive, and many of them don't need the meat. My point is that they should still be allowed the opportunity to make that choice for themselves, not have it thrust upon them as a result of the misdeeds of others, and a potentially political agenda of another kind.

    If in fact the issue is wanton waste, what facts do we have that prove it was done mostly by non residents? Anecdotal evidence suggests that all three groups; non residents, non local Alaskans, and local villagers ALL have a wanton waste problem. So why lay the entire thing at the feet of the non residents? As I said in the beginning of this, I am open to facts. Where are the facts that support this punitive action against our non resident hunters?

    -Mike
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  19. #19

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    Looks like I have to agree with akhunter02, it is all about the money. Good luck getting it changed back to 5 Mike.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default What?

    Quote Originally Posted by akhunter02 View Post
    No one on here are really part of the solution. The only ones that really care if that area goes back to 2 or more bou for Non resident hunters are the ones that have someting to gain. Your average Alaskan hunter that goes in that direction to hunt couldnt give a rats ass if someone from Ohio is allowed to shoot two bou, I know I dont. But I do give care about the lack of respect that so many hunters (ALaskan and non alike) show towards our state.

    If the outfitters, guides, and planning services want to be part of the solution do something about cold storage problem in Kotz. No one wants to jump on that one because it costs money, and after all, money talks

    So Mike, go on and pretend to be a stout support of the non resident hunter, but until you put your money where your mouth is, all this talk is just a joke
    I don't understand your point. Are you saying that I should not comment on this issue unless I buy a freezer for non residents to store meat in OTZ? Wow. Well, that's not going to happen.

    As I said earlier, non residents have been hunting the western arctic for nearly two decades with a five caribou limit. Why have we suddenly had a problem within the last two years?

    As to the commercial operators being part of the solution, the point has already been made that many commercial operators are doing all they can to coach folks on proper meat care, including expeditious transport from the field to a processor immediately after an animal is killed. In my case, I provide all my moose and caribou hunters with comprehensive meat care instructions, and have written literally thousands of words on the subject. As Walt said, I AM a part of the solution!

    As to pretending to be a supporter of non resident hunters, my track record speaks for itself. I have been assisting both resident and non resident hunters for over fifteen years here in Alaska, most of it for free, or on my own nickel.

    I am sorry you are angry with me over this; I'm just trying to help folks. You said you do not care about the non residents. That is your right. I feel differently about it, and will continue to explore this issue for better understanding and meaningful solutions. I don't see myself as the savior of the world or anything, I'm just trying to help.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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