Well, the five ACs have met already to discuss this, maybe some of those members can weigh in, as well as those who know about the Fortymile caribou hunt.
There will be proposals for next spring to change how this hunt is conducted. Currently, it's an open registration hunt, no limit on the number of registration permits, and it's also open to non-resident hunters (bull only). It's broken down into three "zones," one near the Steese, the middle one in the Salcha/Goodpaster/upper Fortymile region, and the other along the Taylor. Differing harvestable surplus for each zone, but a max harvest close to 900 animals total.
Last fall, and in other years, the sheer number of hunters and proximity of caribou to the road system(s) has led to exceeding the harvest allocation. It's a very popular hunt, and many view it as too popular, as literally thousands of hunters, most of whom use ATVs for access, appear on opening day and flood the area. Typically the harvestable surplus is taken in the first or second day of the hunt, and the hunt in zones 1 & 3 along the road system is then closed by emergency order. Meanwhile zone 2, which is mostly boat and air access, is left open, which adds to the total overharvest number.
Various suggestions have come forth. Rather than mention all those, I'm interested in hearing opinions on what folks think may be the best way to change how this hunt is conducted.
The major reason for the proposed change is because the herd is under IM control efforts to rebuild the population, with specific mandated allowable harvests until the herd reaches the minimum IM goal, but we are exceeding that allowable harvest. Many also want to change the hunt because it has become a "zoo" type of hunt, overcrowding, conflicts, safety issues etc.
That's the basics. Looking fwd to hearing opinions,