Alaska Fish & Wildlife News
September 2017

New field guides available
for big game hunters

By Heather McFarland

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently produced two NEW field guides for big game hunters. The first demonstrates reliable methods for distinguishing between bull and cow caribou and the second provides step-by-step instruction for field dressing big game.

Bull or Cow? How to distinguish between bull and cow caribou in the field (2017) is currently available at area offices or on the caribou hunting pages of the ADF&G website. The pocket-sized field guide provides an in-depth review of bull and cow caribou characteristics during both fall and winter. Illustrations of caribou from behind and broadside point out the most reliable ways to identify sex. The direction of the urine stream, shape of the rump patch, and presence of testicles, penis sheath, or vulva are all ways to identify the sex of a caribou. Presence or absence of antlers is not a dependable method. The guide shows photos of 19 different caribou and not only describes how to determine the sex of each, but also points out instances where hunters commonly make mistakes. Study this guide before your next caribou hunt to be confident that you harvest the animal you intend.


Field Dressing Big Game- How to filed dress a big game animal using the gutless method (2017) is currently available in the Fairbanks ADF&G office or on the meat care pages. Other ADF&G offices should have copies of the guide by the end of the week. This user friendly guide reviews techniques for skinning a moose or other big game animal as well as 16 easy to follow steps for removing the meat without gutting the animal. Complete with tried-and-true tips, reminders about salvage requirements, and ways to avoid puncturing the gut these simple illustrations and detailed instructions will help remind hunters of each field dressing step.

For more information about these guides, or to receive a copy by mail, please contact (907) 459-7378.

Heather McFarland is an Education and Outreach Technician with ADF&G, Wildlife Conservation Division.

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