ST. PAUL, Alaska — Kids on a small Alaska island in the Bering Sea are learning how to butcher reindeer shanks in an effort to broaden the island’s subsistence options.

Tribal leaders started the “reindeer camp” for St. Paul Island’s youth as part of an effort to explore different reindeer hunting seasons and harvest strategies, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/2vvGGU5 ).

An increasing number of people on the island have already started picking up permits, heading out on the tundra and taking a shot at reindeer hunting, tribal leaders said.

Reindeer have roamed St. Paul Island for about 100 years, and while they’ve been hunted in the past, marine animals have always been the locals’ top meat choice. But the community needs another consistent food source, and one that might turn out to be profitable, too.

Erin Carr, who works for the Reindeer Research Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is working with the tribal government to get reindeer into commercial sales at the local grocery store.

It might take a while, but the program Carr is spearheading would allow people to support the island’s hunters while avoiding the astronomical prices of other meat, she said.


Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org