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Thread: Ideas on changes to Fortymile hunt?

  1. #1
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Ideas on changes to Fortymile hunt?

    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,

  2. #2
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Forty Mile Hunt

    OK, Mark (and others) - I have hunted the RC860 three times and one of those times I was successful. On the successful hunt, we chose to harvest caribou because Birch Creek was so low (2004) we didn't dare harvest a moose. As it was, we probably dragged our raft about 20 miles out of the 100+ miles of the float.

    The other 2 times I rode an ATV to access the caribou and, as a non-resident, I could only shoot bulls. Yes, the pressure is more than the resource will bear (IMO). Yes, early closure is the norm. But, it is a fun hunt and there is some beautiful country to be seen.

    Does something need to be done? IMO, yes. It probably should go to a draw system with non-residents getting some tags (I'm thinking of a thread on protectionism - but that is another subject). Maybe, once a receipient is successful he/she should be out of the draw for a set period of time. I'm not sure how to fairly distribute this hunt among all the hunters but I'm sure there is a way that will satisfy most of the hunters.

    BTW, this happens in every case where demand is greater than the resource will stand and that occurs more frequently as human population increases.

  3. #3

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    Great question Mark!!!

    Well the selfish part of me would want to make it walk-in only as I don't mind hiking a ways for my animals and I think that would really reduce the # of caribou taken to an acceptable level. But this would reduce the "family" aspect of the hunt to some extent as you can't exactly hike in with a family of 3 kids all 5 years and younger and I'd hate for kids to lose this chance to get exposed to the world of hunting.

    Another option and one I'd see getting a lot more support and being more family oriented which I can agree with is one caribou per household. That way EVERY household has a chance (though they do as well under walk-in only as well ) This would allow for this hunt to continue to allow for younger hunters be introduced into the hunting season on a relatively easy access hunt. This would no doubt reduce the numbers somewhat and to a point that I would hope be back within the harvest goals for the herd.

    The last thing I would want to see it go to draw. Although that would reduce the pressure on the other caribou draw hunts I apply for.

    Its too bad this is the case, but its obvious something has to be done.

  4. #4
    Member GAredneck's Avatar
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    Default Forty mile, Walk in

    I too have hunted this heard over the last several years and have been successful. No, success does not always mean killing animals. I like the time spent with friends and family afield. We always hunt an area that has little to no pressure and never see more than 10-15 other folks on the trail. We do walk in, no ATV’s, just put the miles on our feet. I used this hunt to introduce my oldest to Caribou hunting and hope to do so with my next two in line. But because we have some DA’s that don’t respect the land, animals and other people, my kids and yours may be missing out on a great hunting trip.
    We “DO NOT” need this to go to a draw, what we need is to make this an area of walk in only and drop the number for the quota. If you take away the avenue people use to get to the animals with ease it will only bring in the true hunters,not a bunch of HEAD HUNTERS, and in turn, we the people, will not be losing another hunting area. We can’t afford to keep making everything draw, before you know it we will be having to put in for a “draw” for regular season moose tags.
    I agree that we need to do something but let’s use some common sence and explore a way to achieve the Bio’s goal without taking away this hunt. If this hunt does go way of draw, you can bet that the HAUL road will start looking like Chicken Ridge parking lot. Then by the time they figure out what to do there, we’ll all need to be rollin in the money to even afford to go hunting Bou, much less take your family with you.

    GAredneck

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by GAredneck View Post
    I too have hunted this heard over the last several years and have been successful. No, success does not always mean killing animals. I like the time spent with friends and family afield. We always hunt an area that has little to no pressure and never see more than 10-15 other folks on the trail. We do walk in, no ATV’s, just put the miles on our feet. I used this hunt to introduce my oldest to Caribou hunting and hope to do so with my next two in line. But because we have some DA’s that don’t respect the land, animals and other people, my kids and yours may be missing out on a great hunting trip.
    We “DO NOT” need this to go to a draw, what we need is to make this an area of walk in only and drop the number for the quota. If you take away the avenue people use to get to the animals with ease it will only bring in the true hunters,not a bunch of HEAD HUNTERS, and in turn, we the people, will not be losing another hunting area. We can’t afford to keep making everything draw, before you know it we will be having to put in for a “draw” for regular season moose tags.
    I agree that we need to do something but let’s use some common sence and explore a way to achieve the Bio’s goal without taking away this hunt. If this hunt does go way of draw, you can bet that the HAUL road will start looking like Chicken Ridge parking lot. Then by the time they figure out what to do there, we’ll all need to be rollin in the money to even afford to go hunting Bou, much less take your family with you.

    GAredneck
    Like I said, the greedy part of me wants it to be a walk in only as well. As I enjoy backpack hunting and don't mind packing out a caribou 10+ miles out from the road. That said, I don't think you can really call only those that backpack hunt "true hunters". Seriously, why would you say that?? The problem isn't people tearing up the country with wheelers, the problem lies withiin the fact that the area's harvest goes over quota, regardless if it was backpack hunters or those pesky wheeler riding head hunters, everyone that took an animal was part of the overharvest.

    Backpack hunting can be a family affair, however so can wheeler riding. We can still allow both backpack hunting and wheeler hunting alike if we were to limit the harvest to one caribou per household. That way every family in Alaska has an chance to hunt the area and we still wouldn't have to go to a draw system.

  6. #6
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    It's important that this hunt is controlled better because there is an international agreement with Yukon Territory for the management of the 40 Mile Caribou Herd. The Canadians have refrained from harvesting much of the herd as they want it to increase and continue to migrate into YT. Continued over-harvest on our part may change their outlook on harvesting from the herd.

    The Taylor Highway portion of the hunt is certainly not a quality hunt. To put fewer hunters in the field without making it a drawing hunt:

    Change the season opening date to September 1st.....it would take a lot of pressure off as hunters take advantage of other hunts including waterfowl.

    Walk-in hunt only....ATVs could be allowed for game retrieval only.

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    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Default

    Leave it a registration hunt, but limit the number of tags they give out. They want only 900 animals harvested, then give out only 900 tags.

  8. #8
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    Talking

    B-radford-

    solved the 'problem'.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DEDWUF View Post
    B-radford-

    solved the 'problem'.
    HAHA....true

    However, that would create the "early bird get the worm" at the F&G office for the first 900. I can see the lines being longer than those formed during the new "Star Wars" hitting the theaters. Which is fine first come first serve. I was just suggesting the one per family as it would allow perhaps 900 families/households to hunt the area. Either way makes sense to me. Just trying to think of a way to allow the most amount of people being able to take part in the hunt. Or we can just leave it as the 2 day wildwest shootout.

  10. #10
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B-radford View Post
    Leave it a registration hunt, but limit the number of tags they give out. They want only 900 animals harvested, then give out only 900 tags.
    how about limiting the tags to ONE tag per house hold?

    also, Mark? isn't the 900 avalible part of the federal harvest allocation or is that the total of 1500 that comes up in the reports?
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  11. #11
    Member jkb's Avatar
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    Walk-in off the Taylor? Its over thirty miles to Caribou some years on the Chicken Ridge trail. We don't need more Nelchina herd style "management".

    I did not see anyone want to change things after the years the caribou were not near the trails and it was open for a month and a half. Its been easy access for a couple years but Caribou herds move around. Leave it alone.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
    Unknown author

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    also this is widely considered a MEAT hunt, (here it comes....)

    would antler destruction reduce the number of hunters in the field?
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  13. #13
    Supporting Member sigabrt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    also this is widely considered a MEAT hunt, (here it comes....)

    would antler destruction reduce the number of hunters in the field?
    Works for me

  14. #14
    Member jkb's Avatar
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    Thats what we want a REDUCTION in hunter numbers thru antler destruction. Do we want a REDUCTION in hunter numbers anywhere but where I hunt? I thought growing our sport was the goal. Many many familys hunt the Taylor hwy and Steese Hwy. Leave it alone its the only highway accessable non draw rifle Caribou hunt left.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
    Unknown author

  15. #15
    Member GAredneck's Avatar
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    Default Leave it alone

    If the Bio's are looking to increase the numbers of the heard yet protect it from over harvest every year why not drop the harvest requirment in each zone and keep the hunt as is?

    Alaska_Lanche
    I also don't believe limiting the tags to one per house hold would make a big impact. 90% of the people that hunt that area are guys/gals with their buddies out for a long weekend of hunting.

    Also , I'm not call "back pack" hunters the only true hunters out there. But I'd bet the number of hunters in that area would drop drastically if it was to go to walk in only. Just how many Bou hunters walk the 5 miles in off the HAUL road up North? I know this area would be a little better walking than that but when you have to go 10-15 miles in, well who's up for it? We've walked in about 8-10 miles up there for the last several years and have had great success while the wild west gang on Chicken Ridge chase the same caribou and fight over who saw it first. Then while setting in road construction traffic on the way home, explaining to them I shot it just 3-4 miles in on Chicken Ridge.


    Just leave it alone and drop the harvest quotas!!!!!

  16. #16

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    So if we leave it alone like several here would like to do as if there isn't a problem then, why are there 5 ACs meeting on what to do with the over harvest through the current registration system for this hunt?? The quota gets filled in just a day or two. I guess the answer to the problem would be to leave it alone and continue to over harvest the quota each year in one or two days until the herd numbers fall far enough in a few years that it is decided to cancel the hunt all together. Then those that want to leave it alone are left wondering why the heck that just happend? Well thats one option as well I guess.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by GAredneck View Post
    I
    Alaska_Lanche
    I also don't believe limiting the tags to one per house hold would make a big impact. 90% of the people that hunt that area are guys/gals with their buddies out for a long weekend of hunting.
    Is that your guessimation?? The reason I ask is because the people I know that hunt chicken ridge have a lot of families. Many of these folks I know that hunt these caribou get 3-4 caribou per household. Sure it might not cure the problem completely but it would sure help manage how fast the quota was met enabling F&G to get a better handle on when to close the hunt cause at worst case there'd be 10% less people hunting.

  18. #18

    Default 40 mile

    Lots of things could happen. There is a harvest of 900 caribou and so many of them are allocated to the federal hunt. As a person that has lived in the area much of my life, I can say this hunt is a joke. I simply refuse to take my family out there. Yes, there are places I could take them to, but just to run out and "kill" something isn't quality. Here are some suggestions that I hope take place.

    Change beginning date to Sept. 1.
    Make it no atv's.
    Up the federal quota to for local users. (yes I did say this)
    Eliminate non-residents out of 2 of the 3 road accessible areas.
    Make it a BULL only hunt.
    Allocate a certain # of animals for a winter hunt and make this an "antlerless" hunt only.

    There, said it. Flame away.

  19. #19
    Member fshgde's Avatar
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    Default move hunt to Dec

    I have had good success in this hunt over the years I think moving the hunt to December 1 opening would cut down on harvest. Make it if you have harvested a caribou that reg year you can't particpate. I also like the idea of limiting harvest to one animal per family allowing same numbers to participate with lower number of animals to be taken. I was leaving the miller house area this year with a group that had 5 caribou 3 for one family 2 for the other, they had 1 bull 3 cows and 1 calf of this year. I think creative ways other than going to a draw can keep this hunt open for everyone to participate. Brian

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post

    Change beginning date to Sept. 1.
    I would hate to see that happen. Since most school districts in the state moved to a mid-August start date, the majority of students will be in school by then. It is already hard enough for parents to get their kids out into the field with them for a family hunt. Moving one more road-accessible hunt to a late start date would just add to the reasons for families to give up hunting together.

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