Hunters who were unable to bag a Fortymile caribou this fall — as well as those who would like a second animal — have another chance to do so at the end of the month. The state Fortymile caribou winter hunt RC867 will open on Oct. 27 in all zones, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced.
The biggest change from the fall season is that ADF&G increased the resident bag limit from one caribou of either sex to two animals in all zones. According to the Department, the reason for the increase is “to provide additional harvest opportunity and help achieve the harvest objective for 2021.”
The quota for the winter Fortymile hunt is 2,500 for all zones combined. In total, 2,500 caribou were harvested during the fall hunt, so the winter hunt will hopefully help the Department meet its annual harvest objective of 5,000 caribou. The quotas for individual zones have not yet been determined.
The quota and bag limit “should provide hunters with excellent harvest opportunity throughout the winter,” ADF&G Fortymile caribou manager Jeff Gross said. Hunters have both ample opportunity and plenty of time to harvest a caribou, as the season is slated to remain open through the end of March or until the quota is met. However, Gross explained, it is unlikely that the season will close early by emergency order given the size of the winter quota.
Caribou are accessible from the central and western portions of the range, Gross said.
Hunters who want to harvest two caribou must obtain two RC867 permits. Resident hunters who harvested a caribou during the fall hunt for Fortymile caribou or other herds can harvest a second animal. The only exception to this is for hunters who have permits or who harvested animals in the Nelchina caribou hunts RC561, RC562 or CC001, according to a statement from ADF&G.
For more information, call the ADF&G Fortymile Caribou Hotline at -907-267-2310.
On the other hand, there will not be a winter season for Nelchina caribou, as the herd’s harvest quota has already been met. In total, 1, 640 animals were taken during the 2021 fall harvest, slightly over the harvestable surplus of 1,600 caribou, according to an ADF&G press release.