Two N.W.T. hunting companies are taking the territorial government to court for whatthey call an arbitrary reduction in the number of barren-ground caribou their customers will be allowed to kill.

Bathurst Inlet Developments and Caribou Pass Outfitters/Qaivvik Ltd. applied Friday for a judicial review of the government's decision to reduce the number of caribou tags issued to the companies.

The government has cut backthe total number of caribou tags for outfitters from 1,500 to 750 in an effort to stop the decline in the caribou population.

John Andre, who owns both Caribou Pass Outfitters and Qaivvik Ltd., says thereduction in tags amounts to "expropriation" because it will force outfitterswho specialize in barren-ground caribou hunts out of business.

Boyd Warner, an outfitter with Bathurst Inlet Developments, accused the government of not acting in good faith and misinterpreting caribou numbers.

"Some of us may be forced out of business anyway because of caribou migration changes," he said Tuesday. "Being put out of business because [of] caribou change migration is different than being legislated out of business."

Environment MinisterMichael McLeod refused to discuss the issue in the legislature Monday.

"An application for a judicial review has been filed in the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories regarding the reduction of big game hunting tags for the barren-ground caribou and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on these issues at this time," McLeod said.

The government has not filed a response to the application with the court.