Managers seek to open Nush caribou to non-locals, same-day airborne

(USGCS photo)
(USGS photo)

The Federal Subsistence Board is considering two more changes to increase take of the Nushagak Peninsula caribou herd, which managers say is large, overpopulated, and possibly heading for a sharp downfall.

Togiak Refuge Manager Susanna Henry says the two new special action requests would be for the current season that’s open until March 31st.

“The two changes would be, one, to allow same-day airborne, providing that someone were to harvest a caribou that they would shoot from [at least] 300 feet away from the airplane once the airplane has landed,” says Henry. “The other is to open the hunt up to all residents of Alaska.”

Right now, the hunt is limited to residents from six Bristol Bay villages — Togiak, Twin Hills, Manokotak, Dillingham, Aleknagik and Clark’s Point.

Managers hope that opening the harvest to other Alaskans will help cut down the population – currently over 1400 animals – closer to an ideal size of 700-900.

“If those two changes were implemented, the most we could probably see from it would be people who have an airplane and could come over here easily from the eastside of Bristol Bay, like Naknek and King Salmon,” says Henry. “They’re probably the most like to take advantage of this and benefit from it.”

These special actions, if implemented by the Federal Subsistence Board, would only affect the current season through March 31st.

The public can provide comment on the special action requests at a meeting Tuesday, February 16th, 6-8 p.m. at the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge.