BOG upholds bear denning, same-day flight regs, bans wireless devices
The Alaska Board of Game on Tuesday debated the challenging conflux of ancient traditions and new technology in hunting and wildlife management in Alaska.
Wednesday morning The Alaska Board of Game passed an amended Proposal 13, which will make it illegal to use any common wireless device, including cell phone, satellite phone, drone or wireless trail camera to take a specific animal the same day the device is used. A hunter must wait until after 3 a.m. the following day, after use of a wireless device, before taking a game animal located, identified or tracked with a device, including getting information from a fellow hunter or someone else.
The board upheld current subsistence and cultural provisions for Alaska Natives and Native communities, while adding more restrictions on the use of digital, cellular, satellite and aviation tools in hunting Alaska animals.
The board was unanimous is continuing to allow Native hunters to take black bears including cubs from dens as a traditional method of gathering food in winter. Two proposals to eliminate denning were rejected by the board.
BOG is deliberating on proposed changes on Alaska hunting and wildlife regulations as part of its regular 3-year statewide meeting in Anchorage this week.
Tuesday Board members with ADF&G staff had a lengthy discussion about how to deal with evolving technology like mobile and satellite phones, drones and wireless communication that can help hunters locate and share information about game animals.
One interesting insight example cited under current law: An Alaskan finding a bull moose in his yard and calling a friend to come shoot it in legal season, is breaking or not breaking the law, depending on whether he called on a cell phone (illegal) or land line (legal).
Of particular concern included using wireless game cameras to track and monitor real-time animal movements, like bear activity on a bear bait, which will now be banned under the proposal approved Wednesday.
The crux of the debate came back to allowing technology that provides general information on an animal species, like caribou migrations, but not on the location or actions leading to the harvest of a specific animal.
After lengthy discussion about whether to modify the rules on using airplanes, including spotting game and hunting restrictions on sheep the same day of flight, the board chose to add one sentence to the current restriction for sheep hunters: “This prohibition does not intend to prohibit any flight maneuvers that are necessary to make an informed and safe landing in the field.”
The Board also rejected one proposal to remove the current restrictions on sheep hunters using airplanes.
Here’s a condensed recap of action on proposals Tuesday:
- Rejected proposal 6 to allow incidental take of furbearers during a furbearer season.
- Tabled a proposal to allow taking beavers with archery equipment.
- Rejected a proposal to liberalize rules on landing an airplane to harvest a coyote.
- Rejected the use of high-powered air rifles for taking big game.
- Approved the prohibition of air bows for taking big game.
- Rejected a proposal to prohibit taking bears in dens.
- Rejected allowing hunters over age 60 to hunt with crossbows during archery seasons.
- Rejected proposed changes to Tier II subsistence hunts
- Rejected proposed changes to regulations allowing taking of game animals out of season for religious potlaches
- Approved a proposal reinforcing the importance of migratory game bird hunting both spring and fall as a part of customary and traditional subsistence.
- Tabled four proposals to modify rules for community hunts until the February Region 4 meeting in Dillingham
Still before the board, begins deliberation again at 830 a.m. Wednesday, are several controversial proposals, including:
- A proposal to remove domestic sheep and goats from the clean list, with an ultimate goal of protecting wild sheep and goats from M. ovi disease carried by domestic sheep.
- Competing proposals to either allow or prohibit the release of feral house cats into the wild.
- A number of proposals to change both rules of kinship (when and how non-residents can hunt with resident family instead of hiring a guide) and allocation of draw permits between residents and non-residents.
The board is meeting at the Lakefront Hotel in Anchorage and all deliberations are also streamed online at:
–By Lee Leschper