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State Questions Hunting Limitation

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

In the latest clash between the state and federal government over Alaska wildlife management, the state is objecting to a federal hunting closure along the Richardson Highway. KUAC’s Dan Bross reports.

The The Federal Subsistence Board's special action last month limits moose and caribou hunting on federal lands in Game Management Units 13A and B to federally qualified rural subsistence hunters.  In a letter to the board Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioner Doug Vincent Lang says the state is the principle manager of the area’s Nelchina caribou herd, and strongly opposes the action. Rick Green is special assistant to the commissioner.

…of subsistence uses.” :24    

Lisa Maas, acting policy coordinator for the federal office of subsistence management, says the closure resulted from local subsistence hunter’s concerns about overcrowding in the popular road accessible area.

…disruption of hunts.” :08

Maas says the action falls within the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act stipulations. ANILCA gives rural Alaskans a subsistence priority on federal lands, but the 1980 law also recognizes state authority to manage wildlife. The closed area is part of where a state youth hunt for Nelchina caribou opened August 1st and ADF&G commissioner Vincent Lang cites ANILCA in calling the closure an “unjustified intrusion into state management rights.”  His special assistant, Green, says a lawsuit is among avenues being looked at.

…options right now.” :06 

The closed area is 627 square miles, or less than 3% of Game Management Unit 13, and Bureau of Land Management Glennallen field office manager Marnie Graham emphasizes that the closure is very specific.

”…moose and caribou.” :12

Graham says that means the areas remain open to all other public uses including hunting of other species, trapping, camping, and hiking.

Dan has been in public radio news in Alaska since 1993. He’s worked as a reporter, newscaster and talk show host at stations in McGrath, Valdez and Fairbanks. Dan’s experience includes coverage of a wide range of topics, from wolf control to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and dog mushing.