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    Hello, new to this forum. I lived in alaska for 13 years and loved it. lived in Fairbanks, Bethel, and the best place of all King Salmon. Miss living there but have to make a living so I,m back in texas. Wondering if the mulchatna herd is coming back. I hunted them when they were almost at there peak while living in King Salmon. Heard they went down hill fast.

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    You heard correctly. And....No....matter of fact until the wolves are taken care of, they can never come back. Some say it is already too late for that to happen even.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tradtrails View Post
    Hello, new to this forum. I lived in alaska for 13 years and loved it. lived in Fairbanks, Bethel, and the best place of all King Salmon. Miss living there but have to make a living so I,m back in texas. Wondering if the mulchatna herd is coming back. I hunted them when they were almost at there peak while living in King Salmon. Heard they went down hill fast.
    Between predators, same-day-fly "Caribou Unlimited", and hoof rot, that herd has been decimated. But herds have been decimated before and come back. I don't know how old you are but probably not in your life time or mine.
    I too lived and loved that peak when the peninsula and Mulchatne herds merged and created a mega herd throughout the BB area . Five animals per person. Sleds coming back from up the Nushagak with legs sticking out. Lotsa meat processing back home. It was a great time, but Alaska has changed a lot in just the past decade, and not necessarily for good.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Tradtrails,

    Welcome to Outdoors Directory! I hope you are enjoying the site; we have about 50,000 pages here, so there is tons of stuff to look at. I hope you stick around!

    I spoke with the area biologist (Jim Woolington) about this herd a while back, and he told me some interesting things. For starters, he told me that ADFG really has no idea why the MCH population explosion happened at all. Jim mentioned that it appeared that several herds came together and then the boom occurred. I did some (very superficial) research on this and there were an estimated 14,000 animals there in 1974. The herd had increased to about 20,000 by 1981. But between 1981 and 1991, the count shot up to about 90,000. From there it peaked in 1996 at about 200,000 head. Ten years later, in 2006, the number had dropped to about 45,000 animals. In examining everything from forage, to habitat quality, to predation, and hunting pressure, ADFG still has no definitive data to empirically conclude exactly why the herd exploded, and why it crashed.

    It's interesting that the huge growth of this herd spawned a whole new fleet of aircraft charters, some of which are no longer in business. Now it appears that hunters are flooding into the Arctic, presumably seeking the same sort of experience there that they enjoyed in the Mulchatna country.

    Several ADFG reports are available on Alaska's caribou herds; these reports can be found AT THIS LINK.

    Anyway, hereís a chart I put together with the data I could quickly find. There are some gaps in it, but I was not able to come up with numbers for those years. Still, it shows the trend since 91/92.

    Hope it helps!

    -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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    thanks guys, I would like to find a herd that has good quality bulls and a good population. In 2006 I hunted the porcupine herd in sept. just south of the brooks range ( fly out ) but they had already gone east into canada the week before. Only saw two stragglers but enjoyed living on the lake for two weeks with a gigantic bull moose and a smaller 60". I wish now I would have tried to take that bull. I like to fly out to hunt but seems its hard to find good caribou hunting anymore.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    , , Sleds coming back from up the Nushagak with legs sticking out. Lotsa meat processing back home.
    You sure it wasn't the local boys gang banging in the winter that brought the numbers down? Fly outs from Anch aren't likely to take the numbers that locals do.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    You sure it wasn't the local boys gang banging in the winter that brought the numbers down? Fly outs from Anch aren't likely to take the numbers that locals do.
    MT,

    Up until the decline of the MCH, at least 80% to 85% of the hunters accessed the area via aircraft, and about 85% of the total harvest occurred in August and September. This suggests that most of the hunters were nonlocal, as most of the locals don't use aircraft for hunting. The actual numbers in the Management Reports bear this out, however an interesting trend since the decline has been a surge of local pressure, most notably during late winter / early spring. The number of successful local caribou hunters in search of a MCH caribou has actually doubled in recent years, since the decline. I donít know what to make of this; perhaps it is because moose numbers have slipped in that area, and hunters are targeting caribou instead. I do know that in the 05/06 season, 33% of the total harvest was taken using snowmachines for accessing the area. These are, of course, local hunters. In previous years it was closer to 5%.

    Dunno if your comment that fly-out hunters from Anchorage are not likely to take the numbers that locals do was tongue-in-cheek or not, but I don't think this conclusion can even remotely be suggested by the data. Unless you are talking about the last few years since the decline.

    I put the following chart together to illustrate the numbers of local hunters, nonlocal residents, and nonresident hunters (some of whom hunt with a guide). Hope it makes sense!

    Regards,

    -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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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Hello Mike, hope all is well with you.
    Thanks for the charts. Pretty cool and I enjoy seeing that. Really gives a guy a chance to see some facts.
    My comments were made based on my experience with the WACH. Local harvest far exceeds non local in that herd. Apparently this is not the case, or was not the case, for the Mulchatna herd.
    From your first chart it appears that human harvest of the mulchatna herd was never anywhere near enough to be a factor in the herds decline.
    I was surprised by the numbers in your second chart. Interesting.
    Thanks again.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sayak
    , , Sleds coming back from up the Nushagak with legs sticking out. Lotsa meat processing back home.


    MT-
    my comment about legs sticking out of sled was probably ill advised. I said that to show two things:
    - there were lots of caribou;
    - people hauled the whole carcass back in many cases, using most every part of the animal including the leg bones. In fact, one of my wife's favorite parts of a moose or caribou is the leg bones which she will roast and eat the marrow from. Too rich for my taste, but I'd better not come home without them.

    Not many fly-in hunters bother with those parts.

    I did fly over to Igiagak one winter when there was no snow, and was saddened to see that fly-in folks had landed here and there, shot caribou, and taken only the ribs and backstraps from bunches of caribou. Coulda been folks from Kingsalmon, Naknek or Dillingham, but I doubt it.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post

    Not many fly-in hunters bother with those parts.

    I did fly over to Igiagak one winter when there was no snow, and was saddened to see that fly-in folks had landed here and there, shot caribou, and taken only the ribs and backstraps from bunches of caribou. Coulda been folks from Kingsalmon, Naknek or Dillingham, but I doubt it.
    Did you report the illegal activity?
    Really enjoy the posts and threads that pit hunter against hunter.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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