Western Alaska Hunters Make Case Against Caribou Hunting Restrictions

Caribou photo by Jim Herriges/Bureau of Land Management

ADFG’s decision to reduce Northwest Alaska caribou hunt bag limits to protect dwindling Western Arctic Herd numbers was sure to be a hot-button issue with subsistence hunters, which came to fruition during a recent public meeting. The Anchorage Daily News had some details:

About five people called in the listening session to testify.

Susan Mekiana-Morry from Anaktuvuk Pass was among the callers and spoke against the proposal. Mekiana-Morry said she is aware of the declining numbers of caribou. Still, she said the proposal to reduce limits did not take into consideration how much Anaktuvuk Pass residents have been struggling to harvest animals they survive on, in an isolated village where food costs two or three times higher than in the city.

“There’s barely even anything on the shelves to provide meals. We are really dependent on that caribou,” she said. “Our village is about 380 people and every child, every family, every household — they know what caribou is: It is the main food source.

“This really hurts me to know that it’s a proposal to reduce caribou to four a year,” she said.