Ak Hunting News: Western Arctic Caribou Herd Count Revised


New member
Feb 19, 2007
Reaction score
This news clip is from Alaska Hunting News. Discussion is welcome. This news feed is robot generated.

- ADF&G Press Release

Cora Campbell, Commissioner
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, Alaska 99811
Phone: (907) 465-6137 - Fax: (907) 465-2332

Press Release: No. 11-20, March 24, 2011
Jim Dau, 907-442-1711 or after 3/25 Steve Machida, 907-267-2421
Western Arctic Caribou Herd Count Revised

Juneau – Further analysis of aerial photos from the July 2009 Western Arctic Caribou Herd census has resulted in a reduced population estimate. The previous estimate of 401,000 caribou indicated an increase in the herd over the 377,000 animals identified in a 2007 census. The revised estimate of 348,000 caribou points to a continued, modest decline.
“The herd is still very large, individual caribou appear to be healthy, the rate of decline is still modest, and harvests are not thought to be affecting its status,” said biologist Jim Dau. “The revised estimate will not result in any immediate changes to management activities or hunting opportunities. The revised total is within a range of acceptable count variation and the herd is still considered stable, though slowly declining.”
Biologists intensified monitoring of this herd after the 2007 census suggested the onset of a decline. The revised 2009 count of 348,000 caribou indicates that the Western Arctic Herd has declined 4-6% annually since its peak of 490,000 caribou in 2003.
“After exceeding a population size of 400,000 caribou for over 20 years, a period of slow decline is probably preferable to continued growth and the possibility of an eventual, abrupt decline,” said Dau.
Caribou herds fluctuate naturally due to a variety of factors. The Western Arctic Herd numbered 242,000 caribou in 1970 and then declined to 75,000 by 1976. The herd steadily increased until peaking at 490,000 animals around 2003, then fell to 377,000 caribou in 2007, indicating the onset of a decline after more than 25 years of growth. The accuracy of previous census counts was checked and no errors were detected.

We welcome news tips that are useful to the community. Please send tips and links to complete stories by email to [email protected].
Last edited by a moderator:


New member
Apr 25, 2006
Reaction score
Paradise (Alaska)
So, following 25 years of growth, the Western Arctic Caribou Herd has started a mild/modest population reduction.......
...not quite, not yet, the collapse and eventual implosion of the Mulchatna Herd in the late 1990s, early 2000s.
Worth watching......................dennis


New member
Feb 15, 2010
Reaction score
alaska, all over the state
this aint nothin new...nature doing what nature does. i talk with the biologists dealing with the western most range of the mulchatna herd every year while out in western alaska guiding... and i'm hearing of seperation of the remaining herd, changing calving grounds and a stabalizing pop (within the immediate area i'm speaking of) and according to them this is a relatively new developement...theyre seeing/counting them calving in areas not used in the past...comforting to me and all (being a hunter who wants to see abundant game animals of all species), but in the whole scheme of things, these fluctuations are a normal thing from what i've learned, and while they should be studied and monitored for learning purposes, i dont think its something to worry ones self about too much. my take on it anyway.
Oct 15, 2007
Reaction score
NorthWest Alaska
Me and these Caribou know each other......~~LOL!!~~

They move around quite a bit and habitat destruction isnt a problem, so the fluctuations arent drastic.

They mostly suffer from midwinter rain that has become increasingly more common.
The old and the new years calfs suffer most, Ive seen the dying took pictures and posted them here before.

The count that was revised is 2 years old.....wonder whats the #'s now?

At least the #s are sustainable, and I'll allready be able to tell the grand kids just how good it still is. :D

Lookin' good to me.......we dont want Too much of a good thang:topjob:


New member
Dec 22, 2010
Reaction score
Bedrock, Alaska
While the population decrease in this northern herd is small, I think it is still worth watching and wondering about.
Hopefully it will not crash like the Mulchatna did. But if it does, then we have a good ten years infront of us before it does.
So I agree with NINEFOOT that this is nothing to worry about yet. But who knows.
Does anybody know when a new and up-to-date population survey will be done?