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ORfish

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Oct 31, 2019
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114
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Oregon
If the herd is below the critical management threshold of 200,000, shouldn't we as responsible conservationists ask that all hunting be closed/restricted until it recovers? I have 2022 transporter reservations, but feel like the right thing to do is to cancel and wait until the herd numbers increase.
 
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Larry Bartlett

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ORfish, no sir. The state (ADFG) biologists still support more than 11,000 caribou to be harvested, but they recommend reducing the cow/calf harvests and emphasize compliance with harvest reporting. This to ensure management data is most accurate. The locals often dont report harvests and that is the critical take-away for the FSB to consider. The 200,000 count threshold is the point at which all lines start to intersect for conservation measures. The state still recommends a season for non-locals and THAT is the sticking point.

The state has done a fair and effective management of these animals since the 1970s. If we pay for the science and have experts to make recommendations, that's who we should listen to, period. It's not a conservation argument at this point even though the population count has reached an arbitrary or at best subjective threshold because that threshold is based on the lowest recorded pop and the highest pop just to make everyone sort of feel good about the middle ground science of how big that herd "should be."

We'd be arrogant conservationists to believe we know how the heck those caribou ebb and flow with pop dynamics. It's ALL an educated guess anyway.

lb
 

5AHunter

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Dec 6, 2021
Messages
9
Thanks for the updates guys. We have a trip planned in late August of 22' with RAM Aviation. Just emailed them to confirm these are the units they use and see what their contingency plan is if this were to pass.
Also flying with Ram - didn't ask them about this yet. Did you get a reply on their contingency?
 

5AHunter

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Dec 6, 2021
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Has anyone on here hunted this unit during a closure within the 'high water" areas? What was that experience vs a normal open unit.
 

arctichunting

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Dec 7, 2021
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I just find it funny that the natives in town here will relentlessly chase caribou herds on snowgo's, shoot with semi autos, harvest cows, then blame air charter planes for migration patterns. Bering air isn't a high flying plane and makes 2 trips a day per village. Caribou certainly don't like being harassed on snow machines. It's ridiculous.
 

5AHunter

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Dec 6, 2021
Messages
9
So if I'm understanding this correctly. they've been making the same argument every year because they don't want to share the land (shut this down to non-residents) using the same hyperbolic reasons (outsiders are causing caribou behavior to change, make a mess, etc).

The only thing that they've been missing to really stick the landing on this has been the science (caribou herd census) since the census was deferred in 2020 the FSB could not in good faith make a decision to close it last year.

Now that we have a new census - in which a single biologist, Alex Jansen, has determined that the herd count is below the threshold of 200k (188k) - they have everything they need to confidently close this year?

Sound right?
 

kwackkillncrew

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Joined
Jun 3, 2020
Messages
184
Location
Eagle River, AK
So if I'm understanding this correctly. they've been making the same argument every year because they don't want to share the land (shut this down to non-residents) using the same hyperbolic reasons (outsiders are causing caribou behavior to change, make a mess, etc).

The only thing that they've been missing to really stick the landing on this has been the science (caribou herd census) since the census was deferred in 2020 the FSB could not in good faith make a decision to close it last year.

Now that we have a new census - in which a single biologist, Alex Jansen, has determined that the herd count is below the threshold of 200k (188k) - they have everything they need to confidently close this year?

Sound right?
it does not just effect non residents... it effects anyone who doesnt live in a village within that area.
I cant be for certain but i believe there are alot more then 1 person doing the counting. They might have been the one to reveal the information, but from the 1 area bio i am friends with he tells me when they do their counts there are multiple people who go through that data and they compare numbers each person came up with.
 

5AHunter

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Dec 6, 2021
Messages
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it does not just effect non residents... it effects anyone who doesnt live in a village within that area.
I cant be for certain but i believe there are alot more then 1 person doing the counting. They might have been the one to reveal the information, but from the 1 area bio i am friends with he tells me when they do their counts there are multiple people who go through that data and they compare numbers each person came up with.

That makes sense. Got it. So that 188k is a consensus, which in my mind makes it even more impactful/damning.
 

soggybtmboys

Senior Member
Joined
May 20, 2016
Messages
161
Location
Upper Midwest
The local/subsistence hunters have the largest impact, and my understanding is they don't report. Non residents are restricted to 1 bull and a season that runs, what 2 months?

Villagers killing cows and calves, year round, with almost no restrictions, chasing them in boats, snow machines, etc, unloading on herds with semi automatic weapons fired in bursts...... but the non locals and non residents taking 300-500 bulls is the problem.

Sorry, it's horseshit.

Stop killing calves, throw a quota on cows, mandatory registration, and get a better idea what is really going on, before engaging in a discriminatory practice based on zip code.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk
 

VernAK

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Joined
Dec 24, 2012
Messages
1,472
Location
Delta Jct, Alaska
Reducing the harvest is not always the solution with caribou as they are a strange creature and much is to be learned about their population dynamics. Many herds in North America have severely declined for unknown reasons and harvest numbers have had little effect in many cases. When a herd starts into decline, biologists have not been able to turn the situation around.

I often think of our snowshoe hare and their steep decline for no explainable reason. Unfortunately, the caribou don't rebound as quickly as the hares.
 

arctichunting

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Dec 7, 2021
Messages
2
The local/subsistence hunters have the largest impact, and my understanding is they don't report. Non residents are restricted to 1 bull and a season that runs, what 2 months?

Villagers killing cows and calves, year round, with almost no restrictions, chasing them in boats, snow machines, etc, unloading on herds with semi automatic weapons fired in bursts...... but the non locals and non residents taking 300-500 bulls is the problem.

Sorry, it's horseshit.

Stop killing calves, throw a quota on cows, mandatory registration, and get a better idea what is really going on, before engaging in a discriminatory practice based on zip code.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

This is so spot on. Their argument is that non locals are killing lead bulls and the bush planes they take are disrupting the migration… but they don’t analyze their own habits and how that effects things.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Larry Bartlett

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So if I'm understanding this correctly. they've been making the same argument every year because they don't want to share the land (shut this down to non-residents) using the same hyperbolic reasons (outsiders are causing caribou behavior to change, make a mess, etc).

The only thing that they've been missing to really stick the landing on this has been the science (caribou herd census) since the census was deferred in 2020 the FSB could not in good faith make a decision to close it last year.

Now that we have a new census - in which a single biologist, Alex Jansen, has determined that the herd count is below the threshold of 200k (188k) - they have everything they need to confidently close this year?

Sound right?
From past experience asking pretty much the same questions as you, I learned that a census is tricky business.

Many pilots are recruited to fly the transects over weeks of time when aggregations are historically largest. They have sophisticated cameras taking high res images of all caribou they locate and a biologist team like Alex et al is responsible for data collection and digital photo file assessment.

The last I was aware the state ADFG does their own count from all photos and then also sends the compilation to a non-biased science team outside Alaska, which completes a separate count and assessment. When that data is returned the state compares and adjusts the population count and defines that number for current population size.

It's never a fail safe practice but it's the best method of counting used to date. Now, the shortfall of humans counting caribou by plane is that some transects are incomplete due to weather and terrain, which could easily hide uncounted caribou. Also, caribou range has no fences so herd emigration and range sharing with other herds is not only possible but plausible. For example, the central arctic herd declined 50% in 1 year while the neighboring Porcupine herd grew by 20% the same year...connected by forces we can't exactly prove.

One thing to remember is that our historical data collection for this herd started in around 1970, fifty years after the start of the Industrial Revolution and 15 years before industrial work began for Red Dog Mine. At that time bag limits and harvest data were willy nilly until ADFG began to do these counts and estimated the population to begin managing a diverse animal group. We don't know much about numbers before 1970 OR how much Red Dog Mine activity affected this herd OR any knowledge prior to increased industrial pollution and Ozone impacts, so we used that 1970s data point to define that herd's "normal stable population". Arbitrary genesis of true historical population trends IMO.

So today's count of 188,000 plus or minus 11,000 suggests the herd is about the same in number as it was in 1970 and ebbs/flows of decades thereafter. When you capture a massive incline data point of over 400,000 caribou in one year that point becomes the "peak" of what is now expected of the herd. So today, compared to the strongest fluke years of boom population it suddenly appears that the herd is 50% of its normal maximum peak....which is only accurate within the context of 1970-2021. What if 150,000-220,000 is the centurion mean average population count?

All our management systems do the best they can to make counts and set bag limits and quotas. We trust the science because it proves the best tool we have to continue harvest opportunities for everyone.

The "threshold" is a data point that defines an agreeable line where liberal and conservative strategies converge, and 200,000 caribou is that line today. Now that we're at that level we expect Natives to get theirs and we want ours. Restrictions are the last resort by law while a harvest quota exists.

The ANILCA process is a fed vs. state argument when we reach the weeds of these proposals. The state pursues litigation against the FSB more often than you hear about. They rarely win, but they'll keep litigating to fight overreach by the FSB if and when these proposals result in unjust or unnecessary restrictions on non-local hunters.
 
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Larry Bartlett

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They did not indicate but that's sort of the way it is suppose to be since those were "Public Testimony" opportunities. Generally they allow at least two public testimony periods and then announce a decision before April.
 
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