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SCI Opposes Alaska Public Lands Closures

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Federal Subsistence Board will hold a teleconference on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to take action on Temporary Wildlife Special Action Request WSA21-01. This is a proposed rule that will close Federal public lands in Units 23 and 26A in Alaska to harvest of caribou and moose by non-Federally qualified users from August 1 through September 30, 2021. This Wildlife Special Action would unnecessarily close over 40 million acres of public land hunting opportunity by eliminating non-subsistence hunting.

Safari Club International took the lead on opposing this proposed rule last month, and is especially concerned as the Biden Administration has repeatedly refused to commit to a no-net-loss of hunting and fishing access policy. This move would endanger sound stewardship of our natural resources as hunters and anglers are essential to the effective management of public land. Funds for wildlife management, ecosystem conservation, and animal health and population size all stand to decline should hunting and fishing access be reduced. 

Additionally, this ruling would go against the standards for a Wildlife Special Action, which stipulate that a significant change in resources has occurred and that it is not an unnecessary restriction of non-subsistence harvesting. There has been no change in the herds or resources that would merit this closure, especially as the Western Arctic Herd has a population estimate of 244,000 and the Teshekpuk Herd has a population estimate of 56,000; both stable with few, if any, recent changes.

Non-subsistence hunting makes up only 2-3% of the total harvest while generating significant funds for wildlife and ecosystem conservation. This potential closure is simply another attack on sportsmen and women to restrict hunting access based on fabricated reasoning and no scientific data.

SCI is fighting to make sure the Biden Administration supports sportsmen and women – and conservation initiatives – across the country. SCI is pushing the Administration to pledge a no-net-loss policy both in Alaska and across the U.S. We are fearful this will be the first of many attempted hunting restrictions, and we need your help in preventing them. Join SCI by adding your name to our petition to defend hunting access today.

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