August 21, 2009

Feds to shut Fortymile hunt

Friday marked the last day of federally allowed subsistence hunting of Alaska's protected Fortymile caribou herd, authorities said.

In all, 640 caribou were killed under a federal quota. A winter subsistence hunt with a quota of 40 caribou opens Nov. 1.

The Fortymile herd now numbers about 39,000 caribou. The herd was close to 500,000 strong in the 1920s before dropping to a low of about 5,000 by the early 1970s.

Except for subsistence hunting, the rejuvenated herd is protected by federal and state law with a goal of increasing its numbers to between 50,000 and 100,000, The Anchorage Daily News reported Friday.

The state plans to spend about $100,000 this year to shoot 300 of the 400 wolves in the area that prey on the herd, Regional Fish and Game supervisor David James told the News.