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The caribou bag limit may be restricted to one sex for all or a portion of the season depending on the Game Management Unit. Check the Alaska hunting regulations before you head out on a hunt.

Most cow caribou have antlers from June through April of the following year. Bull caribou have antlers from May through part of the winter. The oldest bulls drop their antlers first, sometimes as early as November, while young bulls (yearlings and two-year-olds) may not drop their antlers until April.


  • The best method to identify bulls is to determine the presence of a penis sheath. On young bulls (one- to three-year-olds) the sex organs are less apparent. The white rump patch is narrower on bulls than cows.
  • Antlers are well-developed (3+ feet) in mature bulls. Young bulls typically have smaller antlers with relatively small brow tine/shovel development, and often cannot be distinguished from cows using antler development alone.
  • Cows

    • The vaginal opening (the lower and larger of two dark oval areas) is apparent when viewed carefully from the rear. The white rump patch is wider on cows than bulls.
    • The antlers of cows are smaller than those of most bulls, with the exception of many yearling bulls and a small percentage of two-year-old bulls.
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