pulling in nets

Pulling in nets on the Meade River. Photos: Cyd Hanns

Spatial Aspects of Subsistence Project

Principal InvestigatorsQaiyaan Harcharek
Collaborators: Hunters
Funding: NSB; Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development
Goal:   Identifying geographical areas and travel routes within NPRA that are important to our subsistence users by using GPS technology and interviews with hunters. In this project, hunters are provided with a GPS unit specifically to gather data on their travel routes and hunting areas. This valuable data from these hunters will be used to develop maps describing the spatial distribution of subsistence use. As of June 2014, 17 hunters are participating. The DWM would like to have 20 more hunters involved in the project, especially hunters that are very active and travel long distances. At this time, we are focusing on adding hunters from Atqasuk, Nuiqsut and Wainwright. In the future, we hope to work with villages outside of NPR-A as well, and to include marine mammal hunting. We also welcome hunters that already have their own GPS unit to participate. Having representation from all areas and hunting locales is ideal. All information and data gathered from this study, as well as the harvest documentation project, is kept strictly confidential. Contact Qaiyaan Harcharek if you are interested in participating in either project.


  1. Download existing GPSs from active hunters and distribute additional GPS units specifically to gather additional data on travel routes and hunting areas. Gather pertinent information to define those geographic areas that are critical to the subsistence-use animals using hunter participation and GPS technologies.
  2. Develop a GIS database focusing on the spatial distribution aspects of subsistence, which can be used to describe subsistence resources and  the patterns of use of subsistence resources.
  3. To document areas and routes that are currently used by subsistence hunters and fishers to harvest subsistence resources as baseline information before development occurs in this area.

Report: Harcharek, Q. 2015. Spatial analysis of subsistence with GPS. Final Report prepared for the State of Alaska, Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. 80 pp. 

Subsistence Harvest Documentation Project (SHDP)

Principal InvestigatorsTaqulik Hepa and Qaiyaan Harcharek
Past Collaborators:  Braund and Associates, Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
Funding: NSB
Summary:  See Reports attached below.


The North Slope Borough has made a commitment to develop information about the region’s subsistence harvest and to share some of this information with state and federal government wildlife agencies and private industry. Subsistence Specialists are present in most North Slope communities and have been trained to use surveys to obtain subsistence harvest information in their community.  Harvest data is collected for all resources.  The data is collected every six months.  The Subsistence Specialists attempt to survey all households in each community, except in Barrow where households are selected at random. Community harvest information may be made available to state and federal wildlife management agencies, but individual household level data remains confidential and under the control of the North Slope Borough.


The objectives of the Subsistence Harvest Documentation Project are:

  • To document the level of subsistence harvested animals (caribou, seals, migratory birds, fish, etc.) required by each village in the North Slope Borough to meet its nutritional and cultural needs.
  • To obtain the harvest and land use data that will:
  • Allow greater local participation in the management of wildlife resources within the North Slope Borough, and
  • Help the North Slope Borough better represent the people of the North Slope, when dealing with state and federal regulatory agencies that may wish to establish harvest quotas or other restrictive harvest guidelines.
  • Mitigate oil and gas industry activities.


  • Document fish and wildlife nutritional and cultural needs of residents of the North Slope Borough
  • Document harvest patterns and subsistence land use
  • Provide accurate information on the harvest of resources so that informed wildlife management decisions can be made
  • Control our own information and the use of data
  • To enable us to respond to important issues relating to our subsistence lifestyles
  • Protect subsistence resources for future generations

If you need additional information regarding the Subsistence Harvest Documentation Project, or have questions or concerns, please call Project Coordinator Qaiyaan Harcharek at the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management at 907-852-0350.

Example of data collected from past Subsistence Harvest Surveys:
Caribou Harvest Survey Data from Anaktuvuk Pass, 1994-2006

Caribou Harvest Survey Data AKP

2014 Update: This project has been ongoing for many years. However, the need for accurate harvest numbers from all villages continues to be important as we work with state and federal subsistence resource regulators. Our documentation helps enable local control of wildlife management in meeting our nutritional and cultural needs, and this could not happen without the cooperation of hunters across the Slope. The DWM has recently surveyed hunters in Anaktuvak Pass and Kaktovik. We will be reaching all of the villages by the end of this year. Reports are pending.


cover of SHDP report

Bacon, J.J., et al. 2009. Estimates of Subsistence Harvest for Villages on the North Slope of Alaska, 1994-2003. North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Barrow, Alaska.

Subsistence Harvest Documentation Project Brochure (January 2009)

SHDP brochure pg 1

SDHP brochure pg 2

Previous Subsistence Harvest Documentation reports:

Brower, H.K., and R. Opie. 1996. North Slope Borough Subsistence Harvest Documentation Project: Data for Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska for the period July 1, 1994 to June 30, 1995. North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Barrow, Alaska.

Fuller, A.S., and J.C. George. 1997. Evaluation of Subsistence Harvest data from the North Slope Borough 1993 Census for Eight North Slope Villages: for the Calendar Year 1992.  North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Barrow, Alaska.

Hepa, R., H.K. Brower, and D. Bates. 1997. North Slope Borough Subsistence Harvest Documentation Project: Data for Atqasuk, Alaska for the period July 1, 1994 to June 30, 1995. North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Barrow, Alaska.

Brower, H.K., and R. Hepa. 1998. North Slope Borough Subsistence Harvest Documentation Project: Data for Nuiqsut, Alaska for the period July 1, 1994 to June 30, 1995. North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Barrow, Alaska.

Brower, H.K., T.P. Olemaun, and R. Hepa. 2000. North Slope Borough Subsistence Harvest Documentation Project: Data for Kaktovik, Alaska for the period December 1, 1994 to November 30, 1995. North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Barrow, Alaska.

Young boy’s first goose hunt - Ernest Nageak with his father Roy

Young boy’s first goose hunt - Ernest Nageak with his father Roy. Photo: Bill Hess

Other Subsistence Use Documentation:

Lowenstein, T. 1981. Some Aspects of Sea Ice Subsistence Hunting in Point Hope, Alaska: a Report. Barrow, AK : North Slope Borough. 

Braund, S.R. and D.C. Burnham. 1984. Subsistence Economics, Marine Resource Use Patterns, and Potential OCS Impacts for Chukchi Sea Communities. Anchorage, AK: Stephen R. Braund & Associates. 

Braund, S.R. & Associates. 1993. North Slope Subsistence Study: Wainwright 1988 and 1989. Report prepared for the Minerals Management Service Alaska OCS Region, U.S. Department of Interior, MMS OCS Study 91-0073.

Braund, S.R. & Associates. 1993. North Slope Subsistence Study: Barrow 1987, 1988 and 1989. Report prepared for the Minerals Management Service Alaska OCS Region, U.S. Department of Interior, MMS OCS Study 91-0086.

Braund, S.R. & Associates. 2009. Impacts and benefits of oil and gas development to Barrow, Nuiqsut, Wainwright and Atqasuk harvesters. Report prepared for the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management.

Braund, S.R. & Associates. 2010. Subsistence Mapping of Nuiqsut, Kaktovik, and Barrow. Report prepared for the Minerals Management Service Alaska OCS Region, U.S. Department of Interior. MMS OCS Study 2009-003.

Braund, S.R. & Associates. 2014. Subsistence use areas and traditional knowledge study for Point Lay, Alaska: 1997-2006. Report prepared for North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Barrow, Alaska.

Huntington, H.P., et al.  2016. Effects of changing sea ice on marine mammals and subsistence hunters in northern Alaska from traditional knowledge interviews. Biology Letters 12:20160198. dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2016.0198

Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest Survey

Principal Investigator: Mike Pederson
Collaborators:  AMBCC, ADFG, USFWS
Summary: During the spring and summer of 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 some households in some villages were asked to keep track of the number of birds and eggs taken for subsistence use.  Villages throughout the subsistence eligible areas of Alaska participated in this survey. The Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council in cooperation with its regional councils conducted the survey in order to provide information on subsistence uses of migratory and other birds, including eggs.  It is important to have a record of how many birds and eggs are used for subsistence purposes so that the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council can cooperatively manage the Spring/Summer Alaska Subsistence Migratory Bird Harvest.
Thanks to all who helped by participating in the harvest surveys.  Your honest responses helped to make each year’s survey a success. If you have any questions, please contact the Subsistence Research Coordinators, Mike Pederson or Billy Adams, at the NSB Department of Wildlife Management (907-852-0350) or your local Subsistence Research Assistant (see the Contact page for the names of the staff in the villages). Quyanaqpak!

Bird Identification Guide - North Slope Compiled by the AMBCC for the North Slope Borough Subsistence Harvest Documentation project, this document contains pictures of 51 birds commonly seen on the North Slope.

Bird ID chart pg 1

bird id chart pg 2

Go to this page on our website for more information on Bird Identification.


For information on Hunter Education and migratory bird hunting, please click here.

ADF&G License and Permit Information  Here you will find general information from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) on hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and permits.  This checklist will help you decide which type of license or permit is needed for your fishing activity. This page will help you find information on all Alaska state wildlife regulations, including hunting and trapping.

Federal Duck Stamp Exemption for Subsistence Hunters Implementation Policy 

Subsistence migratory bird hunters. Photo: Geoff Carroll

Subsistence migratory bird hunters Luke George, Gunnar Carroll, Whitlam Adams, and Bonnie Aishana. Photo: Geoff Carroll

Getting Harvest Sealed or Tagged

Fact Sheet Regulations for Marine Mammal Parts Beach Found by Non-Natives (USFWS, 2001)

More Subsistence resources:

Bowhead Subsistence Harvest Research (NSB-DWM)

Health Assessment of Subsistence User Resources (NSB-DWM)

AMBCC (Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council) Regulations Go to this website to obtain up-to-date information on the Subsistence Harvest regulations.

List of Names of Species on the North Slope This list includes scientific names, common names, and Iñupiat names of fish, birds, mammals, and other animals.

Fish Identification Resources

Kawerak Social Science Program Kawerak, Inc., provides lots of information on traditional uses of resources in their area.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Subsistence Regulations  Go to this ADFG website to find information on subsistence fishing, subsistence hunting, and more.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Notebook Series This webpage provides information on subsistence-hunted species in Alaska.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Species Profiles

Articles and Reports:

Co-management strengthens Marine Mammal Research in Alaska October 2012 article on the NOAA Fisheries Service website describing their work with Alaska Native organizations, includng the Alaska Beluga Whale Committee, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, and the Ice Seal Committee.

Special Issue on Traditional Knowledge, BOEM Ocean Science, April/May/June 2012 A BOEM publication highlighting the integration of traditional knowledge into their scientific studies.

Iqaluich Niġiñaqtuat: Fish That We Eat This report, written by Anore Jones, documents the traditional Iñupiaq knowledge of fish as food, including names, sketches, identification details, brief life histories, and recipes for gathering, preparation and use.

Field to Freezer Meat Care (ADFG)  Information for hunters on how to care for meat, regulations on meat salvage and other information, including a video of butchering a moose.

Sharing and Distritribution of Whale Meat and other edible parts by the Inupiat Whalers in Barrow, Alaska, USA Research Report by Nobuhiro Kishigami (2013) for the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan.