Well the outfitters in the barrens of the NWT had their quotas chopped substantially a couple years ago because of the reported drop in the caribou numbers. With this latest report you can bet there will be calls for additional cuts to the non-resident allocation.
Well without writing a novel, most biologists have been saying the caribou numbers are declining all across the Arctic. A friend was on a count in the islands with Parks Canada and said the trend is caribou down and muskox up.
There are also a lot of games being played with the various herds and what their home ranges are....they have changed the lines of demarcation a few times over the last several decades and this has caused some drastic changes in how many caribou are believed to be in one herd or another. Lots of politics involved and user groups involved.
I can't give you an easy answer and doubt anyone can, but regardless of what 'camp' you are in it does appear that caribou numbers in most herds are declining............wolves, grizzlies, overhunting by first nations and others, outfitters, increased traffic on winter roads, diamond mines and helicopter activity, exploration, increased activity of many kinds may be having an impact on the herds, global warming.........take your pick.
The caribou herds have historically been cyclical in numbers regardless of the causes. Some of the herds were down to such low numbers back in the 1940's that bands of Dene starved to death in parts of what is now Nunavut.
The decline in numbers will however be used politically by a number of groups to further their cause. You can bet on it. None of it will likely be good for outfitters, lodges, guides or non-resident hunters.
I work up there and i really don't think the herd has declined by 30 thousand. what i do think is that with all of the activity the herd has changed routes and the biologists are looking at the old routes and some animals have diverted from that path to a new path. I might be able to tell you more in the spring when i get back because we have caribou running through our work area almost everyday or night
possum............ I guide up there and what you say is very possible and it has a lot to do with which herd the biologists say is in an area and where they draw the lines for the various herd areas. As I said it has changed a couple of times and every time they change the lines that changes how many caribou are in a certain herd.
At times some of the Beverly herd will shift and head east near the tree line and get all the way into northern Manitoba and mix with the Qamanirjuaq herd from eastern Nunavut. So for sure there can be radical shifts at times in migration paths and wintering areas.
Still most of the guys I know who have lived and hunted there a long time think some of the herds are in a decline. A few of the lodges had terrible seasons this last fall as well..........mind you regardless of the problems the outfitters do not take that many caribou. But load after twin otter load of caribou coming out with the First Nations is bound to have an impact, as would the commercial hunt permits and the winter hunting along the winter roads.
I will find out what happens at the November meeting from some of the outfitters and locals that I know who will be at it.
While I was up on the mountains looking for some elk, we spotted some off in the distance. And while I was glassing these elk I couldn’t quite pick up the details of these elk because they were clear out there, and because I couldn’t keep steady enough to get a clear picture of what I was looking at. I told my brother, “I can’t really tell ‘cause I’m shaking.” He gave me the best piece of glassing advice I’ve ever been told (‘cause how many glassing tips can there really be...