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Thread: Mulchatna Caribou

  1. #1
    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Default Mulchatna Caribou

    Back in the 90's I would fly over to the Mulchatna area and harvest a few Caribou. It was great, fly and shoot the same day. The C-180 was good for two hunters and three dressed out Caribou in back with the rear seat removed.

    I just glanced at the Game regulations and it looks as though we can not do that any more. I am supprised that the harvest was ever big enough to make much of a dent in that very large area and once very large heard.

    This could have been a great year with long hard freeze and a big thaw to make nice runways out of all those lakes out there.

    First outting will be clams at Polly Creek?

  2. #2
    Member akmac's Avatar
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    Not to mention the winter caribou meat has an excellent flavor! The population has crashed over there due to a variety of reasons. I hope to be able to land and shoot sometime in the future.

    Mac

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    Member AkPacer's Avatar
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    Default Sad

    Its sad....that was a favorite hunt for my father-in-law and i.

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    I believe the herd diminished all on its own, and harvest never really was an issue until the numbers came down due to overgrazing and the poor conditions that ensue from the cycle. So, for once, we shooters aren't to blame But it is unfortunate, I moved to Dillingham right as things started to tank. I lucked out this fall though and was able to get one, a nice treat, but I doubt I'll repeat it for a few years.

  5. #5

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    When I was in Iliamna last year the pebble mine helicopters where in and out every 5 minutes. Coincidence?

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    ummm probably not, they were probably doing something involving mining.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lu Jon View Post
    um mm probably not, they were probably doing something involving mining.
    So activity "involving mining" can have no effect on wildlife? I never suggested they were shooting caribou but the endless human presence in a former wilderness is taking its toll. I used to go to the Iliamna hotel in Sep. and have a $10 hamburger with two or three other hunters and they where the only people I saw for a week. Now the hotel is "corporate headquarters" and the odds are better to meet a Canadian geologist then a hunter-off to drill another hole, right where I used to hunt. I hate that mine.

  8. #8
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    I suspect my annual appearance with my airplane and a friend, both of us armed with rifles and 5 tags, had more to do with the Mulchatna herd's numbers than the Pebble prospectors have.

    The winter caribou hunt was always a population control hunt. The herd's decline started before Pebble was a popular topic.

  9. #9
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I was talking with an ADFG guy on the Goodnews in Sept 2007. He told me that the herd had been in major decline for sometime. Consistent with what we saw. Floated 62 miles over 13 days in late Aug/Sept and saw 1 caribou! He spoke of a disease of some kind from what I recall. Nature taking its course and not related to people from what I remember. What ever the cause, it was a drastic reduction of the herd and nothing could have been done to prevent it. That is what I was told anyway.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  10. #10

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    About 5 years ago it was reported that the mature bull to cow ration had reached a 50 to 1 ratio.

    That kind of cow to bull ratio will affect calf populations.

    My guess is the herd decline started with the decrease in breeder bulls and the ratio became so skewed that what happened to the mulchatna herd could not be assumed to be caused entirely by natural events.


  11. #11

    Default 2004 Hunt

    I flew in to the Upper Nush back in 2004 for a 10 day moose and bou hunt. Saw about 1,500 caribou over a 12 day period...and LESS than 20 bulls of even medium size. That's when I figured it was time to look elsewhere for the next few years...

    Hope the herd recovers sometime soon, beautiful country up there.

  12. #12
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    The herd has declined but whats more puzzeling is why they changed there migration routs Its getting harder to find them it seems they move further west every year. It was one of my favorite hunts for getting meat in the freezer......

  13. #13

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    Jim,
    You won't have to fight for room at the bar in Illiamna this year, the mining company has pulled most of their staff and the hotel is now for us commoners. Something about crashing commodity prices....
    The herd's decline was started long before the Pebble work began. Oh, and ever been to the Slope? Petrified animals all over the place, Musk Ox, Caribou and others that have far more interest in people that is healthy for either party!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by matsuthunder View Post
    The herd has declined but whats more puzzeling is why they changed there migration routs Its getting harder to find them it seems they move further west every year. It was one of my favorite hunts for getting meat in the freezer......
    It had been so long I had forgotten how caribou behave when hunters are not pushing them---they move much slower, they are more dispersed and what I think was making them move back in the day like they were, kind of predictable and easier to find was pressure. IMO


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