On Friday, the National Park Service (NPS) published new hunting regulations that would ban several controversial hunting practices from National Preserves in Alaska. The new regulations overrides current state wildlife laws and Alaskan officials have stated that they were concerned over the intrusion by the NPS in what they say should be a state concern. In a press release, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game called the new regulations “restrictive” and detrimental to practices that have a “longstanding importance” to state hunters.

“We believe these regulations will have a noticeable effect on the lives of Alaskans, particularly those Alaskans living a subsistence lifestyle,” said Bruce Dale, director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation. “The final rule implements yet another level of regulation that will reduce Alaskans’ ability to provide food for their families and to retain their culture and heritage.”

The new regulations forbid the taking of wolves and coyotes during their denning season, the taking of black bears with artificial light at den sites, taking bears drawn to bait, using dogs in bear hunts, and shooting caribou in water. These controversial practices are a subject of debate for many hunters, but for years have been considered legal by state wildlife managers. According to Dale, if the NPS starts creating regulations seperate from that of the state, it will make it much more difficult for Alaskan hunters to keep track of what laws they should follow.

“[The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980] makes it clear among other regulations that the state is a primary wildlife manager,” Dale told KTUU. “This is a departure from it and it’s going to be a problem for Alaskans because it creates a third tier of regulations now for certain types of users on these federal lands.”

Moreover, some see the new regulations as evidence that popular opinion from other states is now influencing laws in Alaska. NPS officials received more than 70,000 public comments leading up to the decision, and the majority of them were from outside Alaska. Some even see the new regulations as a direct snub to the state wildlife agency. In defense of the regulation change, NPS officials say the new rules are just permanent versions of bans that have already been temporarily applied.

“Our hope is that there’d be some recognition that we have a mandate from Congress and they have a different mandate from the state Legislature, and sometimes there’s a difference in how we manage,” John Quinley, NPS associate regional director, told Alaska Dispatch News. “But at the end of the day, we’re interested in a lot of the same things. The vast majority of state (wildlife) regulations are unaffected by this.”

State wildlife officials say they are reviewing the new regulations and are now considering their options. The new rules will affect about 20 million acres of preserve land.

Image courtesy National Park Service

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11 thoughts on “Federal Agency Bans Wolf, Bear Hunting Methods in Alaska

  1. “The new regulations forbid the taking of wolves and coyotes during their denning season, the taking of black bears with artificial light at den sites, taking bears drawn to bait, using dogs in bear hunts, and shooting caribou in water. ” Surely there must be some ethical hunters in Alaska that won’t be troubled by these new regulations. It is considered unethical by most good hunters to kill Mothers with babies. It leaves orphans to die a slow death of starvation when Mothers are killed. Like wise the rule on using lights at a Bears den site. These are Mothers with Cubs in the den. Most ethical hunters wouldn’t want the Bear that bad. Had the State of Alaska listened to citizens and conservation groups, scientists in regard to these matters then the Feds wouldn’t have had to step in. Remember, if it’s on Federal lands, it belongs to the whole Country, not just Alaskans. I don’t want you doing these unethical things to wildlife that belongs to me. And neither do most ethical people in America. You, the State of Alaska didn’t listen. The Feds did. I thank them for that.

  2. @Candice Copeland
    These rules aren’t just about sows with cubs, if that was the intent, then they should have just made that the rule. Using bait and dogs for bears is legal and perfectly acceptable in many other states. Also, the fed. govt. does not own the wildlife on federal property any more than private land owners own the wildlife on their property. The state should be allowed to set the hunting regulations within its boarders.

    You just sound like an anti-hunter, to me.

  3. See, that’s the problem when a gang of neighbors are allowed to dictate how one neighbor should run his house. That’s the reason we are a Republic and not a Democracy.

  4. I guess they want more people running across the Tundra, with all that entails, ( you guys who have walked Tundra know EXACTLY what I mean), skinning and carrying their meats in pieces, with the meats skinned, they have to be “worked” faster ( cut up , stuck in a freezer, ect) than a whole carcass that can hang for up to three weeks of freezeups fluxing temps, and saved for the coming freeze up and dark winter that takes hold here in the Arctic. After a couple days hunting in the fall, a family would be set up for a few months, for us thats usually feb or March, till we hunt Caribou again…. so thats gonna get to be a bit different…..
    Carcasses are easily worked at the rivers side and lifted cleanly into the boat….. and in my experience, Hunting Caribou on Tundra is more likely to have wounded Caribou get away, more chance of scattering the herds and separating calf’s from cows, and to get the same amount of edible meats (pound by pound) 5 Caribou shot in the chest on land = about 4 Caribou head shot in the water……Then theres the “suffering” factor, and a brain pithing shot to the head is way more “humane” than chest shot death thats takes minutes to achieve…….

    and then theres the Hunters ethics of getting as close as possible to the animal, making a decision as to weather its in the condition the Hunter is looking for and making a clean shur fast kill……is all taken away so a more “sporting” hunt takes place.

    Its subsistence, all about meat……not much different than putting cows in a chute, but hey, we gotta eat.

    This crap actually impacts few folks, I think only 2 Game Units, 22 and 23…..but the ones it does, it will impact heavily, as catching Caribou is a customary and traditional practice that evolved from kayaks and appears to boats and .22lrs (so they wont exit the brain and wound other Caribou that are herded up close, while swimming . No matter the transportation, the need to eat has never changed……

    I guess seeing 70-90- year old elders still hunting Caribou is gonna be a memory soon.

  5. Never let it be said that the federal government’s bureaucrat cretins are only active in their hemorrhoidal activities in the lower fourty-eight !

  6. Not everyone has a food-mart near them. Some kill for glory, some for survival! I assume glory ” sport ” hunters consider it ethical to let families starve.

  7. I’m not sure you assume correctly. Rather than an unseen assumption, I have seen firsthand men and women donate many hundreds of pounds of game meat to those that could not physically get them. You are correct about not all areas having a food mart. Even if there was, the prices would be over the top for many and the quality not even close.
    Some of these means will take away from those that need the meat. Make no mistake, many of these will take away some of the means with which the State of Alaska uses to maintain and manage areas and their game populations.

    It is just a case of overreach by the US government and placation of enviro-cults whose sole purpose is making money from unsuspecting people prone to emotional guilt….

  8. As if the NPS aren’t hated enough by Alaskans. I’ve talked to quite a few that are still ticked about them taking all that land to make the Wrangell-St. Elias Park and Preserve. Typical Federal gov’t, they think they know best.

  9. I find it hard to understand why people in other states are commenting on the rules of another statte that they dont even live in ( NPS officials received more than 70,000 public comments leading up to
    the decision, and the majority of them were from outside Alaska) those people have no idea what it is like to live in alaska nor do they know what it is like to hunt for a living rather then sport they think bears are so cute and cuddly until they are face to face with one all these people come up from the states stepping outside there sheltered lives to tell others how they should live there lives how they should be more like them and less like us alaska is a very different place then the lower 48 or much of the world for that matter this is not bear murder or carabue murder it is subsistance hunting the killing of anamals to fill your freezer for the comming hard winter which is very hard and grulling work it is the best way to spend a few dollers to get the very best organic, fresh meat and some how those people that sit in the capitol who do not have the want nor the need feel empowered to change hunting laws because they think i should get my meat at safeway it is sad that they have taken there eye off of the ball we in this country have much bigger problems and this is what they choose to spend there time on no wonder we are where we are all comments are welcome

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