With a survey conducted this (2017) July by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, preliminary numbers show the Fortymile Caribou Herd population is up from the previous count of 51,000, to more than 71,400. The survey was conducted by photographing the herd from a fixed-wing aircraft while the herd was gathered close together. This was coordinated with five other airplanes who were counting the number of collared caribou to estimate the percentage of the herd present at the time.
The number of caribou photographed and the number of collared caribou present ( > 95%) put the first estimate at more than 71,400. This number might shift slightly as the photographs are counted again. Whatever the total there's no doubt at the numbers are up. The herd which numbered more than 200,000 in the 1920's had gotten as low as 5,000 in the 1970's. The Alaska management plan for the Fortymile herd aims to keep the population of the herd between 50,000 and 100,000.
There's no release on how this will affect the 2018 hunting season. Currently the harvest quote for the herd remains around 1,000 caribou. But with a 20,000 jump up in the population we can hope that it will be increased as well.