Alaska Fish & Wildlife News
August 2023

Why is the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Shrinking?
164,000 is the lowest count since early 1980s

By Keane Richards

The Western Arctic Herd was the largest caribou herd in Alaska 20 years ago, numbering almost a half-million animals. A few decades before that, it was a quarter that number. Caribou herds fluctuate in size and wildlife biologists want to know why the Western Arctic Herd has been declining in recent years.

During July 2022, biologists with Alaska Department of Fish and Game took advantage of favorable weather to photograph the Western Arctic Herd (WAH). During warm weather, caribou often ...   Caribou Herd Decline Article Continued

Know Your Caribou!
Bull or Cow? Test your Skill

By Keane Richards

When populations of animals are high and harvest is low, there may be no problem with hunters taking female animals. But when a population is in decline, like the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, it’s important to target bulls for harvest. A reproducing cow only produces one calf per year, but a single bull can breed with many cows. This means more bulls can be harvested from a population without impact to what wildlife biologists call “recruitment,” the number of calves born each ...   Know Your Caribou! Article Continued

Mountain Goats: Billy or Nanny
Southeast Alaska Hunters Need to Know

By Staff

The 2023 mountain goat season began Aug. 1 with a new regulation for Southeast Alaska goat hunters. Hunters are now required to take an online mountain goat identification quiz before hunting goats in Southeast Alaska whether hunting with a registration or draw permit. The quiz tests a hunter’s ability to identify male vs. female goats.

The goal of the new requirement is to encourage hunters to select male goats for harvest. Selectively harvesting males is important for sustainably ...   Mountain Goats Article Continued

Wildlife Guides and Quizzes

By Riley Woodford

Is that a teen-age bear or an adult? A sow that might have cubs? A male or a female muskox – do they both have horns? Wildlife watchers and hunters alike can take their wildlife skills to the next level with Fish and Game’s free wildlife identification guides and quizzes.

As a fan of bear viewing, I appreciated the bear identification guide and developed a much better sense for determining the age and gender of both brown and black bears.

For hunters, targeting male animals ...   Wildlife Guides Article Continued