Federal Subsistence Board Hosts Bi-Annual Wildlife Regulatory Meeting

Last week, the Federal Subsistence Board held their Wildlife Regulatory Meeting to discuss new wildlife proposals and review current wildlife closures for 2024-2026, covering game animals from moose to brown bears. In the months leading up to the meeting, SCI submitted written comments in opposition to several proposals that would limit hunting access to non-local hunters: Wildlife Proposal 24-04 (closing deer hunting on Admiralty Island from November 1 to November 15), Wildlife Proposal 24-05 (closing deer hunting in North Chichagof Controlled Use Area from November 1 to November 15), Wildlife Proposal 24-06 (closing deer hunting in Lisianski Inlent and Lisianski Strait from November 1 to November 15), and Wildlife Proposal 24-26 (closing Dall Sheep hunting in GMU 24A and 26B). Not only did each proposal lack state and federal support, but they each ran counter to the directives set out in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and the Federal Subsistence Board’s implementing regulations.

During the multi-day meeting, the Board accepted oral public testimony. SCI provided testimony on each of the proposals above. SCI spoke out against additional proposals that extended subsistence hunting seasons for mountain goat, moose, and caribou because the Board only has authority to close federal public lands to hunting. Extending a season beyond the State’s hunting season overreaches the subsistence priority set forth in ANILCA. 

Finally, SCI submitted comments in support of rescinding two non-subsistence hunting closures which impact non-locals’ ability to hunt. It is the Board’s policy that federal public lands and waters should be reopened as soon as practicable once the conditions that originally justified the closure have changed to such an extend that the closure is no longer necessary. Data for both closures indicated there was no longer a conservation concern, and therefore, hunting by non-local users should be reopened. 

Unfortunately, against ANILCA’s directives, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the science, the Board adopted all the proposals that SCI opposed and retained the non-subsistence hunting closures. Although SCI advocated against these outcomes, we will continue to fight for hunter access in Alaska!

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