Fortymile caribou

Caribou from Fortymile Herd in Northwest Yukon.

This weekend, while some are self-isolating, others may be out hunting caribou. On Wednesday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced a late-winter Fortymile caribou hunt for Alaska residents, after it was determined that the Canada harvest allocation is unlikely to be met. The hunt will take place between March 21-31. Registration was open for less than 48 hours this week and closed 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

A news release from the department states that it will be using a targeted hunt to administer a late-winter hunt opportunity for Fortymile caribou. This targeted hunt is a provision of the Fortymile Caribou Herd Harvest Plan that is intended to provide harvest opportunity to Alaska resident hunters. The harvest plan helps guide harvest of the Fortymile herd and allocates 65% of the annual herd harvest quota to Alaska and 35% to Yukon, Canada.

“It has been determined that a portion of the Yukon, Canada harvest allocation for the Fortymile herd is unlikely to be taken before the end of their winter hunt; therefore, following the harvest plan, some of this unutilized harvest will be utilized in Alaska for management of the herd,” the release states.

The targeted hunt involves issuing special permits to allow a limited number of hunters to take up to 400 Fortymile caribou, between March 21 and 31, 2020. To be eligible to receive a permit, hunters were required to register online between March 17 at 4:01 p.m. and March 19 at 11:59 p.m.

Hunters that harvested a caribou after July 1, 2019, are not eligible for this hunt. Following this application period, 400 applicants will be randomly selected today and winners will receive permits by email to participate in the hunt.

The hunt will be open in all zones in the Fortymile caribou hunt area beginning 12:01 a.m. Saturday and will close at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday March 31.

At about 83,000 animals, the Fortymile Herd is the largest caribou herd in Interior Alaska.

For more information on the Fortymile targeted hunt, call the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Fortymile Caribou Herd Hunt Hotline at 907-267-2310. You may also call the Tok office at 907-883-2971 or the Fairbanks office at 907-459-7200. Additional information about this hunt can also be found in the 2019-20 Alaska Hunting Regulation booklets, as well as on the department’s website at bit.ly/2U7hC0l.

Successful hunters must report within three days of the kill either online at bit.ly/2U7hC0l, or by phone to the Fish and Game office in Tok at 907-883-2971. Hunters who report by phone must also mail their permit reports or drop them off at a Fish and Game office. Unsuccessful hunters and those who did not hunt must report online or by phone within 15 days after the hunt period ends.

These changes only apply to state caribou hunts in these areas. The federal caribou hunt on federal lands is not affected by these changes. Hunters with questions about federal subsistence regulations can call the Office of Subsistence Management at 800-478-1456.

Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.