July 27, 2018

Sportsmen’s Groups Support Return of State Wildlife Management in Alaska

By Zach Widner, Northwest States Senior Manager

Recently, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted comments to the National Park Service (NPS) in support of a recent proposal to withdraw a 2015 rule that banned the use of predator management techniques routinely practiced by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) on NPS lands in Alaska.

CSF also signed onto a letter from the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP), similarly expressing support for the NPS proposal to withdraw the 2015 rule.

As CSF noted, the 2015 rule was adopted in spite of strong opposition from the ADFG and the state and national sportsmen’s community. By effectively stripping wildlife management authority from ADFG, and prohibiting the state wildlife managers from making decisions on these lands, the NPS jeopardized the state’s successful wildlife and land management system and ability to achieve wildlife management goals.

ADFG has long served as the best and primary manager of the state’s wildlife, utilizing scientifically developed and implemented rules and regulations to manage for healthy wildlife populations, including allowing for harvest of animals without the fear of depleting game populations.

Because wildlife extends beyond federal land boundaries within the state, federal land management cannot be isolated in certain areas. State wildlife managers made decisions about how to manage Alaska’s lands as a whole with regard to wildlife populations and their unbounded movements throughout the state. In addition, the limitations and restrictions authorized by the 2015 rule undermines hunting as a means of wildlife management, a tradition enjoyed by many.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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