Federal officials propose ban on some Alaska predator hunts

  • Monday, January 11, 2016 10:29pm
  • News

FAIRBANKS (AP) — A U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposal to ban brown bear baiting and other hunting practices from lands the agency manages in Alaska is receiving criticism from lawmakers.

The proposed changes published Friday in the National Register would change hunting and trapping rules for national wildlife refuges in Alaska, covering about 77 million acres. The proposal includes bans on brown bear baiting, killing wolves and coyotes during the denning season and targeting bears with snares or traps, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the proposed rule conflicts with the management authority granted to the state under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, which created several federal conservation areas in Alaska.

“The agency claims this is an effort to bring clarity to a controversial issue, but in reality, it is a takeover of Alaska’s fish and wildlife management rights,” Murkowski said in a statement issued Friday.

National refuges typically follow the hunting and fishing guidelines set by the state they are located in, but the Fish and Wildlife Service argued its conservation mission conflicts with Alaska’s predator control policies.

“We would prohibit predator control on refuges in Alaska, unless it is determined necessary to meet refuge purposes,” the proposed Fish and Wildlife Service regulations state. “Demands for more wildlife for human harvest cannot be the sole or primary basis for (predator) control.”

The large amount of federal lands in Alaska has long been an area of dispute between the state and the federal government.

“It continually surprises me how little regard the federal government has for our state and its people,” Sen. Dan Sullivan, Republican, said in a written statement. “We in Alaska understand the land. We drink its water. We hunt and fish and trap on it. We live on it and we, not the federal government, are best able to decide how to manage it.

The Fish and Wildlife Serve plans to hold a series of open houses on the regulations to get feedback from the public, including one in Fairbanks on Feb. 10.

Gov. Bill Walker plans to ask for an extended public comment period — 121 days instead of 60 days, according to a news release.

More in News

Dr. Kim Thiele stands by a wall of newspaper clippings and images of family members and precursors in his office near Kenai on Monday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A ministry for me’

Kalifornsky doctor wraps up career after 44 years

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, listens to testimony during a Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday in Juneau. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bjorkman game seizure bill received warmly in Senate committee

Of the roughly 150 animals the department takes each year, an average of between one and two are determined to be wrongfully seized

A collage of photos of Nikiski North Star Elementary students taking swimming lessons at the Nikiski Pool. (Photo collages provided by Nikiski North Star Elementary)
Community effort puts 200 Nikiski North Star students through swimming lessons

The lessons covered “everything,” from basic flotation to constructing rough-but-functional life jackets out of clothing

From left, Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, hugs Rep. Stanley Wright, R-Anchorage, after House passage of sweeping education legislation while Rep. Maxine Dibert, D-Fairbanks, watches on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
House passes BSA increase, with other education provisions

The bill now goes back to the Senate, where lawmakers must approve the bill as-is before it can head to the governor’s desk

Rep. Justin Ruffridge speaks about
House considers, rejects multiple school funding amendments during Wednesday floor debate

Over several hours, lawmakers considered six different increases in the Base Student Allocation to public schools

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan addresses members of the Alaska Legislature in the House chambers on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dismissing critics, Sullivan touts LNG project

During his annual address to the Alaska Legislature on Wednesday, the U.S. senator said state leaders should be doing everything they can to make the project successful

From left, Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, east side setnetter Ken Coleman and Konrad Jackson present information about a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for east side setnet fishery permits during a Senate Finance Committee meeting on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Senate committee hears setnet buyback bill

The East Side of Cook Inlet Set Net Fleet Reduction Act is sponsored by Nikiski Sen. Jesse Bjorkman

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of debating an omnibus education bill in the Alaska House Chambers on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Tie vote kills early House debate on education funding

Lawmakers went into an hourslong recess that ended with adjournment until Tuesday morning

Most Read