Caribou and reindeer were introduced to several of the Alaska Maritime Refuge islands during World War II and the Cold War to provide emergency food for military serving at isolated outposts.

Example of uncontrolled growth
On the wilderness island of St. Matthew, far out in the Bering Sea, the last WWII servicemen left within two years after the reindeer arrived. Without human or animal predators, the herd grew so quickly and so large that it ate itself out of food (slow-growing lichens). The majority of the herd died during the winter of 1963-64. The last reindeer died by 1983.  

Hunting Possibilities
Cape Thompson and Adak and Unimak islands have caribou herds. Adak's caribou are introduced while Unimak's herd is native to the island. Caribou hunting was closed on Unimak Island in 2011 as the herd had declined to very low levels. Adak caribou are abundant and cow season is open all year with no bag limits. Bull season is only open August 10 to December 31 with a limit of 2 bulls per year. Please check for the most current regulations regarding the harvest of caribou on Adak Island . See the FAQ sheet below for more information on Adak. Caribou on Cape Thompson are part of the western arctic caribou herd which roams over a broad area including the refuge land.

Introduced reindeer on Umnak and Atka islands in the Aleutians and St. Paul and St. George islands in the Pribilof Islands are owned by the Native Corporations. Guided hunts are offered on Umnak and Atka. Hunting can be arranged on the Pribilofs by acquiring permits through the Tribal Ecosystem Offices on St. Paul and St. George. 

Brown bear are hunted on Unimak Island and guide services are available. Although this island is within the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, it is managed by Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Cold Bay. Contact Izembek for more information and a list of authorized guides and transporters.

FAQs - Hunting caribou on Adak Island, Alaska (central Aleutians).