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Questions and Answers related to H.J. Res 69 and State of Alaska Fish and Wildlife Management

Answers prepared by the State of Alaska, Department of Fish and Game, and Department of Law.

  • Does the State of Alaska permit the aerial gunning of bears (brown/grizzly or black)? If so, in which cases? Hunting from aircraft is prohibited, but bears can be taken in state approved Intensive Management programs in limited areas by state staff only.
  • What Intensive Management programs are currently taking place for bear management on federal land? None, the state is not conducting Intensive Management programs for bears on any federal lands.
  • Under State management (prior to FWS rule), was this practice taking place on federal refuge lands? No, prior to the FWS rule the State was not conducting any Intensive Management for bears on any federal lands, including refuges.
  • Is this practice permitted under general hunting regulations? No, only under state approved Intensive Management programs.
  • Does the State of Alaska permit the aerial hunting of wolves? If so, in which cases? No. Aerial hunting of wolves is only permitted by agents of the state in approved Intensive Management programs in limited areas.
  • What Intensive Management programs are currently taking place for wolf management on federal land? The FWS is currently conducting Intensive Management programs for native red and Arctic fox and mink on refuges and Forest Service lands in Alaska. There are no State Intensive Management programs on NPS or FWS land. Some BLM and military lands may be affected.
  • Under State management (prior to FWS rule), was this practice taking place on federal refuge lands? No, the State was not conducting any Intensive Management on federal refuge lands, but the FWS did conduct Intensive Management of predators (fox and mink) on refuges and Forest Service lands and continues to do so.
  • Is this practice permitted under general hunting regulations? No.
  • What are the general hunting regulations/ restrictions for the use of aircraft in the taking of bears and wolves? You cannot hunt until 3am the next day after flying except for dispatching a wolf in a trap, or under the conditions of a permit for hunting bears at registered bait stations provided the hunter is 300 feet from the plane. 5 AAC 92.090(3) and 5 AAC 92.085(8).
  • Does the State of Alaska permit the gassing of wolf pups? If so, in which cases? No. The use of carbon monoxide is only allowed in approved Intensive Management programs and only by state staff, not the general public. The State used carbon monoxide to fill one wolf den in 2009 under an approved Intensive Management program.
  • Under State management (prior to FWS rule), was this practice taking place on federal refuge lands? No.
  • Is this practice permitted under general hunting regulations? No.
  • Does the State of Alaska permit the denning of bears and or bear cubs? If so, in which cases? Yes, in a limited area where it is a customary and traditional practice as was requested by local residents. The Federal Subsistence Board also currently allows federally qualified subsistence users to engage in this practice in certain areas.
  • Under State management (prior to FWS rule), was this practice taking place on federal refuge lands? Yes.
  • Is this practice permitted under general hunting regulations? Under state subsistence regulations, as a customary and traditional use, yes. The harvest of bears at dens is also allowed in some federal areas under federal regulations.
  • Does the State of Alaska permit the denning of wolves and or wolf pups? If so, in which cases? No. This practice occurs only in approved Intensive Management programs and only by state staff. It was done in one program in 2008 and 2009.
  • Under State management (prior to FWS rule), was this practice taking place on federal refuge lands? No.
  • Is this practice permitted under general hunting regulations? No.
  • Does the State of Alaska permit the taking of bears over bait? If so, in which cases? Yes. The harvest of bears over bait is a form of regulated take throughout many areas of the state (and throughout many of the contiguous 48 states). The Federal Subsistence Board also currently allows federally qualified subsistence users to engage in this practice on federal land. See, pg. 20 https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/wildlife_regs_16-18_correctedreduced.pdf
  • Under State management (prior to FWS rule), was this practice taking place on federal refuge lands? Yes, this was a recognized, compatible use by permit on federal refuges.
  • Is this practice permitted under general hunting regulations? Yes, by permit. 5 AAC 92.044.
  • Does the State of Alaska permit the hunting of bear cubs or bear sows with cubs? If so, in which cases? Yes, taking of black bear sows with cubs and cubs is only allowed at den sites, except in one area where it is allowed year round under customary and traditional practices.
  • Under State management (prior to FWS rule), was this practice taking place on federal refuge lands? Yes.
  • Is the exception for “customary and traditional” allowed under the FWS rule? Yes, it is allowed in limited areas under federal subsistence regulations.
  • Is this practice permitted under general hunting regulations? It is allowed under State Subsistence regulations.
  • Does the State of Alaska permit the trapping or snaring of bears? If so, in which cases? No, except under approved Intensive Management programs, and only by foot snares. The use of leg hold, steel jawed traps is prohibited.
  • Under State management (prior to FWS rule), was this practice taking place on federal refuge lands? No.
  • Is this practice permitted under general hunting regulations? No.
  • Does the State of Alaska permit the trapping or snaring of wolves? If so, in which cases? Yes, it is allowed under general trapping regulations in a manner similar to other states with sustainable wolf populations.
  • Under State management (prior to FWS rule), was this practice taking place on federal refuge lands? Yes, this use has been found compatible on refuges throughout Alaska by the FWS.
  • Is this practice permitted under general state trapping regulations? Yes
  • Will the state Board of Game have the authority to set all hunting rules in refuges, including killing wolf pups during denning season and shooting grizzlies over bait? The Alaska Board of Game has the authority to set hunting regulations throughout the state based on principles of sustained yield derived from the Alaska Constitution and as guaranteed by Congress in the Alaska Statehood Act, Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and the Refuge Improvement Act. This includes the authority to establish or prohibit methods and means of harvest. State of Alaska hunting regulations do not allow the disturbance of dens to harvest wolves. The harvest of black bears and grizzly/brown bears over bait is allowed in certain areas of Alaska under both state and federal regulations.
  • Will the state Board of Game authorize predator control in refuges? No, only the FWS can authorize predator control programs in refuges. The FWS does conduct extensive predator control programs in refuges across the United States, including in Alaska. These FWS predator control programs are intended to improve prey populations of wildlife, particularly waterfowl, to meet population objectives to support human interests and the purposes of refuges, including hunting. In 2015 federal land management agencies, including FWS, killed 385 wolves, 68,905 coyotes and 480 bears nationwide, along with thousands of other birds and mammals.
  • The state regulations were all requested by sport and trophy hunters. No. The regulations at issue were primarily requested by Alaskans hunting for subsistence.