Litigation: SCI and partners file brief defending allocation of non-resident hunting tags in Alaska Supreme Court

SCI, SCI Alaska Chapter, and Alaska Outdoor Council submitted an amicus brief in the Alaska Supreme Court in defense of the Alaska Board of Game’s allocation of resident and non-resident permits to hunt brown bear on Kodiak Island.  Plaintiff Cassell is a board member of the group Resident Hunters of Alaska.  He seeks to change the allocation of brown bear permits so none are specifically reserved for non-residents.  (The current division is 60/40 for residents/non-residents.)  He challenged the Board’s allocation of permits under the common use provision of the Alaska Constitution.  SCI and its coalition submitted an amicus brief in the lower court last year, along with amicus Alaska Professional Hunters Association.  The lower court dismissed Cassell’s claims entirely, based in part on the arguments of amicus.  Cassell appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.  Our second amicus brief again defends the Board, emphasizing that not all Alaskans share plaintiff’s attitude towards non-resident hunters and explaining that the allocation of non-resident tags is consistent with the Alaska Constitution because all Alaskans benefit from the funding brought into the state by non-residents.  Non-resident hunting fees underwrite over 70% of the wildlife authority’s budget and keep resident hunting licenses and tag fees very low.  Last, the brief argues that non-residents are not “enemies,” as Cassell suggests.  It points out that SCI has defended Alaska’s wildlife management interests repeatedly in court and before federal administrative agencies.