North Slope caribou hunters face new restrictions

With herd numbers down, hunting seasons and bag limits for caribou on the North Slope may face tighter restrictions.

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The animals in question belong to the Central Arctic Caribou Herd of hunting Unit 26. The herd’s population peaked between 2008 and 2010 at approximately 70,000 caribou. Due to high female mortality rates, current numbers indicate the herd is 22,000 strong.

When herd numbers dip this low, Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Beth Lenart said that the department will suggest adopting conservative management measures.

“Most the hunting takes place in Unit 26B so right now what we’ll be recommending is for that reduction of seasons and bag limits in Unit 26 Bravo,” Lenart said.

The proposal will be made at a February meeting. Lenart encourages citizens with concerns to attend the meeting and give their testimonial. Changes could go into effect as early as April 2017.