Resident caribou hunters in Game Management Unit 13 will be able to harvest a caribou of either sex this hunting season. Permits were printed with bag limits to be announced, pending summer census results this month. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is announcing the bag limit of one caribou for all Unit 13 state-managed resident caribou hunts (RC561, RC562, CC001, DC485 and YC495). The bag limit for DC475 is one bull.

Most of the herd unexpectedly overwintered in Unit 13 during the winter of 2020/21 allowing hunters to meet the season’s hunt quotas and reduce the herd. This summer, the Nelchina caribou herd has an estimated 38,400 caribou, which is a much healthier size for the herd at this time. Available harvest, however, is lower than in recent years, as the goal now switches from reducing the herd to stabilizing it. The quotas and expected harvest below reflect the Board of Game direction to distribute hunter opportunity and harvest for this important caribou herd.

The youth caribou hunt (YC495) will take place as scheduled. The expected harvest from the youth hunt and the federal subsistence hunts have been removed from the overall harvestable surplus of 1,600 caribou, and the remaining harvestable surplus has been assigned to the following state permitted hunts, which the Board of Game has designated for Nelchina caribou harvest:

The quotas for DC485, RC561, and RC562 are likely to be reached and seasons are likely to be closed by Emergency Order. It is likely that no winter seasons will open. Hunt updates and additional information will be available on the Nelchina hotline at -907-267-2304.