The National Park Service, responding to the state of Alaska's liberalized hunting seasons for predators, is proposing to shorten the hunting seasons in some of its units in the state.
The Park Service is now taking public comments on temporary restrictions for certain sport hunting practices in several national preserves in Alaska through March 22.
"The restrictions generally mirror those in place last year. These restrictions are in response to decisions by the Alaska Board of Game to liberalize hunting seasons and methods for wolves, coyotes, and bears," a Park Service release said. "The board has also rejected proposals by the National Park Service to exclude preserves from these practices, an action that would have made federal restrictions unnecessary."
The restrictions include:
* Shortening the open season for wolves and coyotes. Under the proposed rule, wolf and coyote hunting would be open from August 10 through April 30. This would prevent the taking of wolves and pups at den sites during the early summer when the animals are vulnerable and their pelts are in poor condition.
* Prohibiting the use of bait for the taking of brown bears. Until recently, the practice had been prohibited since Statehood and is the only such allowance in North America. The NPS is proposing to prohibit the practice to avoid public safety issues that can arise with bears conditioned to finding human food.
* Prohibiting the use of artificial light when taking black bear sows or cubs at den sites. This practice was opened to all resident hunting license holders in 2010.
The full text of the restrictions for each affected national preserve can be found at this web page.
Public hearings will be held in a community in or near each of the affected national preserves during the weeks of March 10 and March 17. In addition, hearings will be held in Anchorage and Fairbanks, and written comments may be mailed. The NPS will also open a Facebook chat on the topic on March 20 from 10 a.m. to noon and postings will be retained for the record.
The public hearing schedule for Katmai, Aniakchak, and Alagnak is as follows:
Location: Bristol Bay Borough Assembly Chambers in Naknek
Date and Time: Thursday, March 13, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Comments in writing should be sent to 240 W. 5th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501, or emailed to AKRO_compendium@nps.gov.
Gates of the Arctic National Preserve
Fairbanks, Monday, March 10, 6 p.m.‐7:30 p.m. Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center
Bettles, Monday, March 10, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Bettles Ranger Station
Yukon‐Charley Rivers National Preserve
Eagle, Tuesday, March 11, 6 p.m.‐7:30 p.m., Eagle Public Library
Noatak National Preserve
Kotzebue, Monday, March 11, 6 p.m.‐7:30 p.m. NPS Heritage Center, Kotzebue
Lake Clark National Preserve
Port Alsworth, Wednesday, March 12, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. NPS Visitor Center, Port Alsworth
Denali National Preserve
Denali Park, Thursday, March 13, 6:30-8 p.m. Murie Science and Learning Center
Katmai National Preserve, Aniakchak National Preserve
King Salmon, Thursday, March 13, 7-8:30 p.m. Bristol Bay Borough Assembly Chambers
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
Nome, Monday, March 17, 6‐7:30 p.m 214 Front Street, Beringia Room in Nome
Wrangell‐St. Elias National Preserve
Copper Center, Monday, March 17, 4 p.m.‐5:30 p.m. Wrangell‐St. Elias N.P. Visitor Center
NPS Alaska Region
Anchorage, Tuesday, March 18, 6:45 p.m.‐8:15 p.m. Russian Jack Springs Park Chalet
Comments in writing should be sent to 240 W. 5th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501 or emailed to AKRO_compendium@nps.gov