We were discussing the Borough’s Fish and Wildlife subcommittee review of Board of Game proposals to be addressed at the BOG Central and Southwest Regional meeting scheduled for this coming January in Wasilla. Last week, we left off with proposal 59. This last group of proposals we’ll mention today also contain requests for adjustments on season lengths and creations, methods and means, and bag limit changes. My thoughts on these proposals reflect the lack of a position statement by the department, for biological factors or other concerns, being available when we discussed these suggested changes.
For the remaining proposals regarding moose in GMU 13, the subcommittee either opposed or recommended no position. Several of these were seeking to amend aspects of the community harvest program like permit requirements or salvage regulations. The bear proposals were either opposed or no position recommended. These involved baiting, lengthening the season, or archery-only hunts.
The subcommittee took no position on three wolverine trapping proposals and the same or no consensus on two motorized access issues. On a couple of small game proposals, the subcommittee took no position on extending the ptarmigan season and opposed a special youth only ptarmigan hunt. One person felt there was already ample opportunity for youth to participate.
Now we jump to the Palmer area proposals. Regarding moose, the subcommittee supported the concept of creating a resident youth hunt in unit 14A and reauthorizing the antlerless drawing permits for units 14A and 14B. They opposed extending the caribou season in unit 16B. Proposals to add blackpowder firearms to the list of allowable tools for the targeted moose hunts and a short expansion of the current archery moose season in units 14A, 14B, and 16A were supported. Removing the 50-inch antler requirement was opposed.
Establishing an antlerless season in 16B along with creating a registration archery-only season in 16B were supported. The four Dall sheep proposals, 86 through 89, were either opposed or no consensus. Six brown bear proposals, 90 through 95, were either opposed or no consensus. The subcommittee opposed the taking of black bear while same-day airborne in unit 16B.
The subcommittee supported taking beaver with firearms or archery gear in unit 16 and opposed extending the beaver trapping season in the same unit. There was no consensus on closing areas to trapping in units 14A, 14B, and 16A or on removing the requirement that all traps or snares for beaver in unit 16 must be submerged.
While not a part of the Central and Southwest Regional meeting, one of the subcommittee members wanted to discuss one proposal from the upcoming Statewide BOG meeting and two proposals from the Board of Fisheries proposal book which could have an effect on hunters.
Proposal 155 from the statewide BOG meeting would establish protocol for issuing resident-only, any-bull moose hunt permits in selective harvest hunts. This would generate money for the department in the form of application fees, but more importantly, would give the department another tool to help in the population management of various moose populations.
The two BOF proposals, 235 and 236, talk about residency requirements for purchasing a sport fishing license. If this change were made, the BOG would have to pass a similar proposal to keep an even keel in requirements for purchasing hunting and fishing licenses in Alaska.
These two proposals seek to modify the definition of domicile, the location of the person’s primary residence that allows a person to meet the definition of primary residence according to the PFD requirements. Some people come to AK and buy resident hunting and/or fishing licenses because they own property in the state. Property owners are not, necessarily, the same as being a resident. Where you vote is your area of residence.
The subcommittee asked the FWC borough liaison to ask the borough attorney to review the BOF proposals and render a legal opinion as to whether or not the proposed changes would be an acceptable way to administer hunting and fishing license sales. My first thought is does either board have the authority to change a definition of residency or does this authority reside solely with the legislature? Hopefully, we’ll get a legal opinion soon.
As a final thought, read Andy Couch’s column about two upcoming meetings that will be highly informative. Andy tells you how you can listen in and participate in our annual end-of-season meeting with ADF&G about how the salmon runs were managed in Cook Inlet in 2020. The second meeting is an overview of salmon habitat in the Susitna/Matanuska drainages.