The State of Alaska has closed the winter hunting season effective December 9, 2006 for the Fortymile Caribou Herd hunt RC867 in areas accessible from the Steese Highway and Chena Hot Springs Road and in the roadless areas of GMUs 20D and 20E. The winter Fortymile caribou hunt encompasses Unit 20E and portions of Units 20B, 20D, and 25C. An earlier emergency order closed the southern portion of Unit 20E on December 1. The remainder of the RC867 hunt area in northern Unit 20E is not affected by this emergency order.
According to the Emergency Order, the Alaska Board of Game endorsed the Fortymile Caribou Herd Harvest Plan (Harvest Plan) as a means of guiding harvest of the herd from 2006 through 2012. The annual harvest quota is allocated seasonally: 75% to the fall hunt and 25%, plus any surplus from the fall quota, to the winter hunt. This winter’s quota is 372 caribou. Each year the winter quota is divided between the 2 road accessible portions of the hunt area, the Steese Highway–Chena Hot Springs area and the Taylor Highway area. The quota of 223 caribou for the Steese Highway–Chena Hot Springs and roadless area is expected to be met on December 9, 2006, and no further harvest is warranted in these units. The hunt was closed in the southern portion of Unit 20E on December 1 to prevent overharvest of Nelchina caribou that moved into that area. The RC867 caribou season is scheduled to remain open in northeastern Unit 20E until February 28, 2007, but will be closed sooner if the remaining harvest quota is reached.