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Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Subsistence in Alaska

Q. Do I need a license to go subsistence hunting?

A. Yes, and you may also need a subsistence permit. Visit the hunting section for more information.

Q. What is a “Tier II” hunt?

A. The Alaska Board of Game determines if a game population can be harvested under the principle of “sustained yield.” If the population can be harvested, the board then determines what amount is reasonably necessary for subsistence uses. If the population is sufficient, the boards can provide for all consumptive uses (e.g., sport and subsistence.) However, if the population falls below a certain level, the board must keep subsistence the priority and restrict all other consumptive uses. If, however, the population is not even sufficient for all subsistence uses, then the board must distinguish among subsistence users. Thus, a “Tier II” hunt takes place when the board must distinguish among subsistence users through limitations based on the customary and direct dependence of the game population and the ability of the subsistence user to obtain food if subsistence is eliminated or restricted. For specific information on Tier II hunts, visit the hunting section.

Q. Who may subsistence hunt for migratory birds in Alaska?

A. Spring and summer subsistence hunting for migratory birds is a federal hunt, managed by the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council (AMBCC) under federal regulations. Fall and winter migratory bird hunting is managed both by federal and state regulations. Visit the hunting section for more information.

Q. Who can subsistence hunt for marine mammals in Alaska?

A. Subsistence hunting of marine mammals is governed by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Only Alaska Natives who reside on the coast of the North Pacific Ocean or the Arctic Ocean may harvest marine mammals for subsistence. The MMPA also governs the creation and sale of handicrafts made from marine mammal products. For information about subsistence hunting for sea otters, polar bears, and walrus, contact the US Fish and Wildlife Service. For information about subsistence hunting for seals, sea lions, and whales, contact the National Marine Fisheries Service.

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