Forty Mile Herd vr Porcupine Herd?



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  • Forty Mile Herd vr Porcupine Herd?

    I am looking for some comments – pros / cons – to hunting either of these herds.

    We, a group of four (fathers/sons), are planning a trip for the fall of 2007 to hunt one of these herds. We are going to be archery hunting during the first couple weeks of September.

    We are planning to access the herds via a fly in drop camp. The pilot we are working with in Fairbanks will fly into either herd but I am a little leery of the Forty Mile Herd. From what I have read this herd is on the rebound and there still are not many caribou?

    How is the Porcupine fairing?

    Thanks for all the comments.


  • #2
    Accessing the Porcupine?

    I have not hunted the Porcupine Herd, although I know it's migration pattern and I don't know of ways to access this herd... You talked with a Pilot out of Fairbanks? Did he say how he might get you up there to hunt? Very curious as I had thought about hunting that herd as well... I do know that it has a healthy population (second in size to the Northwest Arctic Herd).

    As for the FortyMile, that would be a much cheaper hunt but I am unfamiliar with the regs for that area for non-residents. It looks like you could each get one bull with that herd with a permit... Call Alaska Department of Fish & Game for details on this.

    Here are the Hunting Regs:


    • #3
      Chances are pretty good that the 40 Mile hunt would be over by the time you get up here since they close it after reaching their qouta. You might want to do a trip off the Haul road or you could access the Porcupine herd through Wright Air Service. If you can come up earlier, say the 10th of August when it opens you could fly into 40 mile country and get your caribou that way. 40 Mile Air could probably get you in there.


      • #4
        Problem is.....

        One problem you may have with the 40 mile herd is most of that area...if not all I'm not at the minimum a registration permit hunt. Meaning that if you got all the way up here and had your permit, which you can get online, F&G could pull the plug on the hunt when an alloted amount of animals are harvested...and if the herd is relatively close to a trail system that doesn't take too long. I'd hate to see you get all the way up here and then learn by the time you got here they had closed the hunt. The 40 mile herd gets hunted by residents and they can usually be accessed by atvs.

        Just my thoughts....but good luck regardless!!!


        • #5
          Thanks -

          Thanks for the comments. I wasn’t aware of the cap on number of animals.

          Any other comments in terms of quality of animals, etc?


          • #6
            Other Herds?

            Although nice animals are harvested here and there, the 40 mile herd is not "Known" for it's large bulls...that hunt turns into more of a meat hunt for residents and is usually over in just a few days when the quota is hit.

            Have you checked out hunting the Western Arctic Herd? I think you would run into a lot more caribou if you concentrated on hunting one of the herds up North...the season would last longer for sure. Of the top of my head I'm not sure about non resident requirements...but it's worth checking out for sure. I could be way off base....but maybe not? lol!

            Good luck!


            • #7
              I think there is a guide in Kaktovik, on Barter Is. He may do drop hunts in the Porc. herd range. There is also at least one transporter working out of deadhorse, or maybe coldfoot, who would be a possibility for getting dropped in the eastern ANWR area which is where the Porc. herd ranges.
              Otherwise, I'd recommend talking to transporters in Bettles about a drop on the upper Noatak, or even in unit 26 for early sept bou.
              I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
              I have less friends now!!


              • #8
                Thanks - What about 25A

                Thanks for the comments fellas. As an archery hunter I am looking for a hunt that will provide enough opportunity for things to come together.

                Several mentioned hunting the Proc in unit 26. Does anyone hunt the Porcupine herd in unit 25A and 25B?


                • #9
                  Hi Ryan,

                  You might check out this site for good info on the Porcupine Herd:

                  They have a Porcupine Caribou Herd satellite project that shows location of some of the animals in the herd, always two to three weeks behind what is current. I live in 25B and about the only time the Porcupine herd shows up here is in winter, and that hasn't happened in a half-dozen years. Heard they were in the upper Colleen area now, or thereabouts, in 25A. Like any herd, they can move fast if/when they get a notion to migrate. Here is a page of interest that shows last fall's migration pattern/route:

                  Scroll to bottom where it shows a map of the late summer/fall migration. You can also choose previous years to look at. It will give you some idea of their migration patterns. Good luck and have a great trip wherever you decide to go,

                  Mark Richards


                  • #10
                    Thanks for those websites.... interesting.

                    So it sounds like the Porcupine herd is hunted on the north slope in unit 26 more then unit 25A??


                    • #11

                      They are hunted in both those units, 26 and 25A. If you look closely at the data on the website I gave you'll get a good idea of differing migration patterns, and you'll also see that in some years most of the herd is already in Canada from August 8 to October 7.

                      Caribou are whimsical animals. The Porcupine Herd has a huge and variable range. Take a look at the 2003 fall maps:

                      That year they were in 25A in good numbers during hunting season. Same with 2002. You have no way of knowing where they will be in 2007 when you do your hunt. Which is why it's hard to plan in advance. They are named after the Porcupine River, and most of the folks I know who hunt them either live on the upper Porcupine or its tributaries or hunt out that way and take them on years they move through.
                      Mark Richards


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