BLM increases harvest limit for the Fortymile Caribou Federal Subsistence Hunt

Harvest limit of two caribou announced for remainder of the winter hunt

Group of 5 Fortymile caribou foraging for vegetation under the snow near the Steese National Conservation Area.

FAIRBANKS, Alaska –The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Eastern Interior Field Office increased the Fortymile caribou federal subsistence hunt on federal public lands in Game Management Units 20E, 25C and a portion of 20F. Effective midnight on Dec. 2, 2022, the federal subsistence hunt includes a harvest limit of two caribou for the remainder of the winter hunt season that ends on March 31, 2023. The federal subsistence hunt only applies to federally qualified rural residents hunting on federal public lands. 

“Subsistence harvests in the region have been poor for all food sources this year,” said Eastern Interior Field Office Manager Tim Hammond. “The increased harvest limit helps to meet our regulatory obligations to provide for a subsistence opportunity. The subsistence caribou harvest is a small proportion of the overall harvest, but it is very important.”

The harvest limit of two caribou applies to the entire regulatory year and is not additive to other federal or state hunts. If a qualified subsistence user has not yet harvested any caribou in the fall or winter season, they can harvest two caribou in the remainder of the winter season.  If a qualified subsistence user has harvested one caribou in the fall season or winter season, they can harvest one additional caribou in the remainder of the winter season. If a qualified subsistence user harvested two caribou in the fall season, they may not harvest any additional caribou in the winter season.

“Hunters will continue to be allowed to harvest both cow and bull caribou,” said BLM Wildlife Biologist Jim Herriges, “but we encourage hunters to harvest only bulls to limit impacts to the reproductive potential in the declining Fortymile Caribou Herd.” The season may be closed or limited to bulls-only if the quota on cow harvest set by Alaska Department of Fish and Game is met.

The BLM made the decision under authority delegated by the Federal Subsistence Board after consultation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Eastern Interior Subsistence Regional Advisory Committee. 

Hunters participating in the hunt must obtain an RC867 joint state/federal registration permit issued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The RC867 registration permits are available online at hunt.alaska.gov and at Alaska Department of Fish and Game offices in Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Tok, Anchorage, Douglas and Palmer and at vendors in Eagle, Central and Tok. Hunters should review the RC867 permit conditions.  

Information and updates on the RC867 caribou hunt are available on the Fortymile Hotline at (907) 267-2310. Any state or federal closures will be announced on the hotline. If the harvest quota is met, the state season may close, but the federal subsistence season typically remains open.

To aid in locating federal public lands open to the federal subsistence hunt near the Elliott, Steese and Taylor highways, maps are available from the BLM Fairbanks District Office or online at: https://www.blm.gov/maps/georeferenced-PDFs. Choose “Alaska” and scroll down to “Federal Subsistence Hunting Map Series” and choose maps for Game Management Units 25C or 20E. Also, checkout BLM’s other georeferenced PDF maps. Many of the other maps include access information and off-highway vehicle use limitations necessary for trip planning.  Plus, they are also a useful tool that shows a user’s location in real time through an application on smart phones or tablets, even in areas where cellular service is not available. To work on your device, both the application and the maps need to be downloaded prior to losing cellular coverage. 

For additional information, contact Jim Herriges at (907) 474-2200 or jherrige@blm.gov

 -BLM-

Bureau of Land Management, Fairbanks District Office, 222 University Avenue, Fairbanks, AK  99709

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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

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Bureau of Land Management

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Fairbanks District Office

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Teri Balser