The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
September hunting seasons for Nelchina caribou in Game Management Unit 13 have been extended by emergency order. Scheduled by regulation to end September 20, the early fall season for caribou hunts RC566, CC001, and DC485 will now remain open through September 30. The extension is intended to provide added opportunity for permitted hunters who have not yet harvested a caribou.
Early fall caribou harvests in Unit 13 remain below quota and the caribou remain the unit’s more remote central portion of the unit, which is not easily accessible. The early fall hunting season extension aims to increase hunters’ odds of encountering Nelchina caribou which typically migrate out of Unit 13 following the rut in late September and early October.
A series of mild winters and relatively low predation have combined to boost Nelchina caribou herd numbers above the fall management objective of 35,000 to 40,000 animals. Recent analysis of data from a photo survey conducted in July places the 2016 population near last year’s estimate of 48,700. To help bring herd numbers closer to healthy management goals, hunters are encouraged to harvest cows. Later in the hunting season, as caribou bulls enter the rut and meat becomes strong and gamy, hunters often prefer to harvest cows. See more about this athttp://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/hunting/caribouhunting/pdfs/nelchina_caribou_herd_bulletin_july_2016.pdf .