Monday, March 15, 2010

Dalton Highway Hunting Restrictions

I shouldn't be sharing hunting secrets, but it is a fallacy that the existing Dalton Highway buffer is an artificial restriction on access. ANY Alaskan with some gumption and wits can cross the corridor and harvest caribou with a rifle and successfully transport the meat home for consumption without a snow machine. In fact most of the people I know that harvest caribou do so without the aid of off road vehicles (ORV) on the north side of the Brooks Range through creative use of skis/snowshoes and sledges or non-motorized boats. When I have traveled the Dalton Highway to the starting point of my hunt I have seen large numbers of bow hunters along the road hunting within the corridor.

The other caribou herds located along highway corridors and have ORV access (eg. Nelchina, Delta, Fortymile) are in annual crisis and under intensive Alaska Department of Fish and Game management at great expense to the state treasury. Registration and drawing hunts are par for the course, emergency closures are annual events. Predator control is a constant battle. Please keep good old Alaskan ingenuity and muscle powered access as the main and successful method of guaranteeing that the Central Arctic Caribou herd is managed for abundance and not crisis.

I have actively hunted the Central Arctic Caribou herd using non motorized access since 2005 when I realized how easy it is to access this herd outside of the 5-mile corridor. I and my family have relied on the high quality of the meat we have obtained on these hunts. The hunts have provided my sons and I some of the best quality time that we have had together since they have become adults. Part of the quality is derived is from the remoteness and the physical effort that is required by the minimal short 5 mile mile buffer before we can hunt with a rifle. This opportunity should be preserved for all Alaskans.

Here's to Senator Mike Kelly's Alaska HB 267 going down in flames!