New NR caribou opportunity

Bambistew

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Yesterday the Board of Game unanimously approved a small allocation of bull caribou permits to NR in unit 13.

Tentatively they will be available in the draw next permit cycle. Total quota is set at 50 bull tags at the moment, but has a maximum amount of up to 200. They will only be available if the herd is over objective. This would be a pretty neat opportunity if you like combat hunting. Certainly not a "wilderness" type hunt, but its a pretty cheap caribou hunt none the less.

The current population (Aug 2017) was about 50,000. The objective is 35-40,000. Total take has been 4-6,000 the last couple years. Total permits issued has been between 12-14,000. The basic core hunting area is about 15,000 square miles +/-.

Considering the contention over this area between various user groups, I was very surprised to see this pass. A similar proposal 2 years ago was shot down 0-7. Get 'em while they're hot, is how they put it.

There are a couple other proposals to open a draw/registrations hunts for non-residents in SW Alaska. I doubt they will pass (but I could be wrong), as the herd is pretty small there at the moment. We will know more about this later in the week.
 
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Addicting

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Please keep us posted, I wouldn’t mind making the trip up there if I don’t deploy. I will have to bring you some more syrup if we draw.
 

mdhunter61

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That's awesome Bambi! When I was a kid we hunted Unit 13 every year, almost always camped on the Denali Highway at about 36 Mile (the trail in to Osar Lake that overlooks the McLaren River Valley). That's some really pretty country and a great place to hunt and camp if you hike a little to leave the crowds on the highway.

I mostly hunt Unit 20 now, but before my Mom passed away in 2013 we would drive the Denali for a couple of days after my hunt was over, just picking berries and enjoying being in Alaska backcountry.
 

wllm1313

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Bambistew, did the nonresident hunt get thrown out, I'm not seeing it in the 2019-2020 draw supplement.
caribou13.jpg
 

shaffe48

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This would be a pretty neat opportunity if you like combat hunting.
I was in 13D at the beginning of September last year black bear hunting. We hardly saw another person except RV types stopping for pictures. We soon gave up and headed to.unit 7 where the trail system is more developed. On the way to anchorage we saw some trail heads that looked like a Wal-Mart parking lot. But I thought those were moose hunters.

This is interesting but I don't like combat hunting. I understand that it can be done and you can use hunting pressure to your advantage. I'm just not personally interested in taking a week off work and traveling thousands of miles to do so. Same reason I tossed my leftover pronghorn tag this year and spent my time bird hunting. No regrets.
 

Bambistew

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Bambistew, did the nonresident hunt get thrown out, I'm not seeing it in the 2019-2020 draw supplement.
View attachment 89944
note my comment... They will only be available if the herd is over objective. The herd is at or below objective. Maybe next year.

I was in 13D at the beginning of September last year black bear hunting. We hardly saw another person except RV types stopping for pictures. We soon gave up and headed to.unit 7 where the trail system is more developed. On the way to anchorage we saw some trail heads that looked like a Wal-Mart parking lot. But I thought those were moose hunters.
The caribou season in unit 13 was broken into 3 seperate start dates with very limited quotats on each with exception of Federal Subsistence. Hunting pressure may have been "low" because there was no caribou season in progress at that time, or you just weren't in the right place to see it. I will say that participation was much lower this year than years past, but on overage there is about 50 cars per hour traveling the Denali, most all of them hunters. The August 10th openener was a comlete shitshow... Lots of people gave up on the later hunt dates this year because the caribou were far and few between within reasonable distance of the road/rivers/trail systems, or they planned vacation and didn't want to chance the season closing. For the most part the majority of the caribou were in inaccessible areas. Many people who have never hunted Alaska cannot fathom this, but there are still lots of places that you couldn't physically get one out. No air strips, 20-30 miles with no roads, no horses, etc. No matter how hard you hunt, its just not possible. I assure you there was plenty of pressure this year in the areas where caribou are generally found. They aren't found throughout unit 13, and are more abundant in select areas, and the better black bear areas are virtually devoid of caribou. ;)

If I was a betting man, the tags issued for DC485 will be around 750-1000 tops this year for residents, down from 5000 for the last few years, but we'll see what happens this winter/spring and if more of the herd comes back to 13, much of them remained with the 40mile herd last spring. Note there are 3 other hunts for these animals not listed in this supplement, Tier II subsistence, and federal subsistence, and community harvest, all of which have offer unlimited permits, only qualifications. The Tier II had 8,000 permits issued last year, and the FS was about 1500, and the "community" harvest for caribou accounted for another 1000 tags. There was roughly 15,000 permits issued last year for unit 13.
 

shaffe48

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I was in the tonsina area north of Thompson pass over labor day weekend time frame near the control use area. Where i saw the pressure was in the lowlands on the way back to anchorage. I assumed those were moose hunters maybe wrong.

The area we started was pretty inaccessible. What i thought was above the treeline from the sat photos was 8 ft brush. Live and learn.
 

Bambistew

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I was in the tonsina area north of Thompson pass over labor day weekend time frame near the control use area. Where i saw the pressure was in the lowlands on the way back to anchorage. I assumed those were moose hunters maybe wrong.

The area we started was pretty inaccessible. What i thought was above the treeline from the sat photos was 8 ft brush. Live and learn.
Caribou are scattered early in the year, and can be found about anywhere in unit 13, but its very uncommon to see one in Tonsina. They tend to be more along the west and north side of the Wrangells, and in the Nelchina basin bound by the Glenn, Denali, and Richardson highways during the season. They migrate to the east over near Tok starting around mid Oct.

The mobs of people you saw along the road were most definitely caribou hunters.
 

Hudge76

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Sep 26, 2018
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I don't see NR opportunities in 13 for quite sometime. With the issues they had this season, I think limited DC485 tags will be given next year, and maybe they should limit the Tier tags as well.
 

338win

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Sep 19, 2015
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Interior Alaska
I have had that tag twice. I wouldn’t want to plan a hunt around that tag if I was a NR based on quota closures and the subsistence priority given to that unit. A few years ago when that herd had higher numbers I had a pretty good hunt once I hiked into the non motorized area.
 
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