Federal caribou hunt extended to March 15th

by Mark Arehart on February 27, 2013

The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife has extended the federal caribou hunt in unit 18 to match the state hunt: they both close on March 15th.

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Hunters who haven’t caught a caribou this year or haven’t met the bag limit will be happy to have a few more weeks to get out there to try and catch.

“Although our federal regulations indicate that the season closes on the last day of February. The state regulations apply on federal lands and that season runs until March 15th. Therefore caribou season will remain open on federal and state managed lands until march 15th,” said Spencer Reardon, Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist.

He said extending the federal hunt to match the state hunt makes things easier on hunters.

“A lot of times these caribou remain on federal lands, not all the time, but a lot of time they do. And it is a little frustrating to have to try and figure out where federal and state lands are. That’s the main reason why we try and keep these regulations the same,” he said.

The bag limit remains the same, two caribou, one of which can be a bull.

Reardon said Fish and Wildlife has had a hard time estimating the area’s caribou population, because they have become more and more spread out.

“We all know that the population declined since the high in 1996, which was around 200,000-plus. And it’s down closer to 30,000 or so.”

The federal and state moose hunts in unit 18 remainder and on the Lower Yukon still close tomorrow, Reardon said.

In the unit 18 remainder, the bag limit is one moose, and on the lower Yukon the bag limit is two moose.

Again those hunts have not been extended and close tomorrow.

Reardon said the moose population in both areas seems to be increasing rapidly.

He said the moose hunt could become more liberal in the coming years.

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