The Fortymile caribou herd is open for harvest for the first time in almost 25 years.
This is the first licensed harvest since 1995 of the caribou whose populations has grown from a low of 6,500 to an estimated 84,000 individuals. The herd is located along the Top of the World Highway and Fortymile are near Dawson, and cannot be accessed using regular vehicles.
Based on recommendations from the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management board, the government of Yukon is opening a licensed harvest on Fortymile caribou herd from January 1 to March 31, 2020. Any hunter who has not reached the bag limit for caribou for the 2019-2020 season are eligible for permits. The bag limit for the Fortymile caribou is one male per season. Given the difficulty in identifying male caribou without antlers in the winter, the government is encouraging hunters to visually identify a penis sheath.
The government of Yukon has worked with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, the Dawson District Renewable Resources Council and the State of Alaska to recover the Fortymile caribou herd in the Dawson region of Yukon.
There will be 225 permits available to Yukon resident hunters, and can be purchased starting today at any Department of Environment office.
Harvest Coordinator Rob Florkiweicz commented on the decision to open up the harvest. He said that the herd has recovered to a point that the team feels it can support some harvest. Florkiweicz says he believes it is time to start accessing sustainable harvest without undermining the recovery efforts that have been put into the herd. He says that they received a recommendation from the Fish and Wildlife Department to open the herd; a process that began as far back as 2015 when there was a public review process on the herd’s management.
The first batch of permits has become available today, and according to Florkiewicz at least one has already been picked up.