Subsistence Harvest Documentation Project (SHDP)

Principal Investigators Taqulik Hepa, Carla Sims Kayotuk
Collaborators Braund and Associates, Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
Funding NSB


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.
    • 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.

Benefits & Uses of Subsistence Harvest Data:

  • 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 Carla Sims Kayotuk at the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management at (907) 852-0350.

Examples of data collected from past Subsistence Harvest Surveys are listed below,

Caribou Harvest Survey Data from Anaktuvuk Pass, 1994-2006

2018 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 Anaktuvuk Pass and Kaktovik. We will be reaching all of the villages soon. Below is the report on the village of Kaktovik. Other reports pending.

Subsistence Harvest Documentation Project Brochure (December 2019):

Subsistence Harvest Documentation Reports:

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

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

Caribou Subsistence Harvest Monitoring:

Other Subsistence Use Documentation:

Spatial Aspects of Subsistence Project

Principal Investigators Qaiyaan Harcharek
Collaborators Hunters
Funding NSB, Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development


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.


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.

Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest Survey

Principal Investigators Mike Pederson
Collaborators AMBCC, ADFG, USFWS
Funding USFWS


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, 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.

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

Hunter Education and Information

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

Getting Harvest Sealed or Tagged

More Subsistence Resources

Articles and Reports:

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