RC561 Nelchina caribou hunt ends

Nelchina caribou hunt RC561 closed by emergency order for the rest of the August hunting season, with the harvest quota of 350 caribou having been reached, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

ADF&G’s summer estimate for the Nelchina herd is 38,400 caribou, down from a high of 50,000 caribou in recent years, and last year, when the herd was about 40,000 animals.

To prevent overharvest, maintain adequate sex ratios within the herd and maintain the herd within abundance objectives, state biologists determined a harvestable surplus of 1,600 caribou.

Accounting for federal subsistence harvest and based on Alaska Board of Game direction to distribute hunter opportunity and harvest, ADF&G set several state harvest quota for existing Nelchina caribou hunts.  These include 4,181 permits for hunt RC562, quota 350 caribou;

2,919 for hunt RC561, quota 350 caribou; 2,000 permits for hunt DC485, quota 225 caribou;

903 permits for hunt CC001, quota 200 caribou; 200 permits for hunt YC495, expected harvest 100 caribou; and 50 permits for hunt DC475, quota 25 caribou.

Nelchina drawin permit hunt DC485 is set to open Aug. 20 through Sept. 20, with the second Tier 1 hunt, RC562, to open Sept. 1 through Sept. 20. Both will be subject to early closure once quotas are reached.

ADF&G biologists said it is likely that there will be no open winter seasons this year.