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Winter Fortymile caribou hunt opens Tuesday; concerns expressed over weather, treatment of land

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 4:59 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Tuesday Oct. 27 the Winter Fortymile hunt will open on the Steese and Taylor highways in Interior Alaska. Alaska Wildlife Troopers (AWT) are warning of bad weather conditions, and residents worry about how hunters will treat the land in the area.

According to a press release from the Bureau of Land Management the hunt will be open from Oct. 27 until March 31, or until the 5,000 animal quota is reached. Subsistence users who have a permit will be allowed to harvest two caribou. The press release clarified that the limit applies to the regulatory year and not just this hunt.

AWT Sergeant Dan Valentine said that hunters who already shot two Caribou during the hunt in August will not be able to shoot more. He also said that if they only shot one animal, they would be allowed to harvest one more during the winter hunt.

Valentine also warned hunters about the weather in the area. “It is snowing out there like crazy, it’s going to be really snowy up there on the Steese Highway so you are going to want to bring outdoor gear -- cold weather gear, sleeping bags, things that if your car breaks down, you are going to be okay. If you are planning on hiking off the highway you are going to need good clothing for that.”

Valentine also cautioned hunters to make sure they know what they are shooting at so they don’t endanger other hunters or accidently shoot more caribou than they are allowed.

One worry some residents have is motorized vehicles on BLM land. According to the regulations, the only motorized vehicles allowed on federal land are snowmachines after Oct. 15. Valentine said the last time he was in the area there was not enough snow to use snowmachines.

On State land hunters are allowed to use motorized vehicles, but Valentine warned about steep hills, saying that much of the ground is slick. He encouraged hunters to be careful.

According to Valentine, the quota is not expected to be reached any time soon as the caribou are spread out between the Steese and Taylor highways. He suggested that hunters may want to wait a few weeks until the weather improves and it is easier to use snowmachines in the area.

He also encouraged hunters to be mindful of where they dump their guts and carcasses. While it’s not illegal to leave them in the woods, he reminded hunters to be respectful of those around them.

Wildlife Troopers as well as Federal Rangers will be in the area throughout the winter patrolling and making sure everyone stays safe.

Any questions can be directed to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. There are also maps at pullouts on the Steese Highway to show hunters various boundaries and hunting areas.

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