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ADF&G Emergency Order Changes Nelchina Caribou Bag Limits in Unit 13

(Glennallen) – The caribou bag limit for state Nelchina caribou hunts in Game Management Unit 13 (CC001, RC566, and DC480-483) will change from either sex to bull-only by Emergency Order 04-04-13, effective at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, August 11.

The emergency order allows hunters participating in the Copper Basin Community Subsistence Harvest caribou hunt (CC001) and the Tier I Subsistence (RC566) hunt to take caribou of either sex for one day, on August 10. After that date, all Unit 13 state permit hunts (including the drawing permit hunts, DC480-483) will be restricted to the harvest of bulls only. This emergency order does not affect federal caribou hunting regulations in Unit 13, or any other caribou hunting regulations outside of Unit 13.

The 2013-2014 hunting season harvest quota for the Nelchina caribou herd is 2,500 caribou (2,200 bulls and 300 cows). It is anticipated that the cow harvest on August 10 under state subsistence permit hunts, in combination with cows taken under federal subsistence permits, will be sufficient to achieve this year’s cow quota.

The reduced harvest quota and this Emergency Order, which closes the cow season on August 11, are a result of unanticipated, high natural mortality caused by deep snow and an unusually late spring. The herd’s migration to the calving grounds was delayed and many caribou, including calves, died while trying to reach the calving area. Some drowned in flooded rivers; others likely died from nutritional stress brought on by the long winter, deep snow and late green-up.

Nelchina harvest quotas are adjusted annually to maintain the population within the objective of 35,000-40,000 caribou. Although the population estimate will not be finalized until October, the summer count indicates that the herd remains within population objectives. While this year’s harvest quota is a reduction compared to last year, this year’s quota is closer to the long-term average for the herd.

It is anticipated that the bull quota will be reached prior to the end of the regularly scheduled caribou hunting season (March 31). Nelchina caribou hunters are encouraged to check the Nelchina caribou hotline (267-2304) or Community Harvest hotline (822-6789) prior to hunting for updates on the reported harvest and any additional emergency closures.

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