After following the back and forth AHTNA posts (one of "negative" posts was mine) I decided to post my experience to date.
When I first heard of the hunt I was skeptical. I didn't know really how I felt about BEING REQUIRED to share 1/2 of a bou I had to work for. However, upon further consideration: I chose to submit my application to the hunt.
1) this is a very easy access hunt. As a first time caribou hunter and a work and family schedule that does not permit much time for planning, transporation, and time in the field- the access of the Nelchina herd is a great plus.
2) The opportunity to participate in a cultural event such as the community sharing is one i can't pass up.
3) If I'm lucky, even half of a caribou will be great.
4) to gain such easy access to a hunt, I must be willing to compromise
I chose to submit my application and was pulled and received a harvest record for this hunt. I went out last weekend and saw over 100 head of caribou. Unfortunately, none of them stood out as a bull so I could not, with 100% certainty, pull the trigger- the brush was too high in places and I couldn't get close enough to detemine the sex without spooking them. I plan to return to the field this weekend and am optimistic.
Following this optimism, I will be at Copper Center on 10/3 at 10am sharp (though having to drive from Anchorage that morning) for the Sharing Event. I expect a positive experience- one I will share with my children.
Management of resources, land, game, etc. and the ensueing regulations highlights the vast number of competing interests- economic, social, cultural, geographic, etc.. We need to spend some time trying to bridge the gap and not just fence off our respective sides. I believe, if successful, the AHTNA hunt may be a step in the right direction.
I anticipate some grumbled responses to this. Yes, i am a bleeding-heart-liberal and proud of it. I also believe in the right to bear arms. I look forward to many long seasons of hunting and fishing and opportunities to share the fruits of my luck and labor with those less fortunate than I.
Happy and safe hunting to all.