Interior moves to lift restrictions on hunting bears, wolves

Take Action. Scroll to the bottom of this page to speak out against this foul proposal. Find a sample comment at the end of this post. Comments are due by July 23, 2018 11:59 p.m. ET.

**Update** The comment period has been extended. Comments are now due by November 5, 2018 (11:59 p.m. ET).


The Trump administration is moving to reverse Obama-era rules barring hunters on some public lands in Alaska fro baiting brown bears with bacon and doughnuts and using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens.

The National Park Service issued a notice Monday of its intent to amend regulations for sport hunting and trapping in national preserves to bring the federal rules in line with Alaska state law.

Under the proposed changes, hunters would also be allowed to hunt black bears with dogs, kill wolves and pups in their dens, and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou.

These and other hunting methods — condemned as cruel by wildlife protection advocates — were outlawed on federal lands in 2015. Members of the public have 60 days to provide comment on the proposed new rules.

“The conservation of wildlife and habitat for future generations is a goal we share with Alaska,” said Bert Frost, the park service’s regional director. “This proposed rule will reconsider NPS efforts in Alaska for improved alignment of hunting regulations on national preserves with State of Alaska regulations, and to enhance consistency with harvest regulations on surrounding non-federal lands and waters.”

Alaska has 10 national preserves covering nearly 37,000 square miles (95,830 square kilometers).

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game was “pleased to see the National Park Service working to better align federal regulations with State of Alaska hunting and trapping regulations,” Maria Gladziszewski, the state agency’s deputy director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, said in an email to The Associated Press.

She said the proposal is “progress in that direction, and we appreciate those efforts. Alaskans benefit when state and federal regulations are consistent.”

Gladziszewski said the state doesn’t conduct predator control in national preserves. “Predator control could be allowed in preserves only with federal authorization because such actions are subject to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) review,” she said.

Expanding hunting rights on federal lands has been a priority for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a former Montana congressman who displays a taxidermied bear in his Washington office along with mounted heads from a bison and an elk.


Take Action:

Please comment on the new rules, visit this website or submit your comment directly here. Comments are due by July 23, 2018 November 5th, 2018, 11:59 p.m. ET. Please remember that five hundred identical form letters can count as just one comment. What agencies are looking for is a “substantive comment” that clearly communicates and supports its claim.

Sample Comment:

I oppose amending regulations for sport hunting and trapping in National Preserves in Alaska. The removal of a regulatory provision established in 2015 which ended the abhorrent practices of taking wolves and coyotes during the denning season; the taking of any black bear using artificial lights at den sites including cubs and sows with cubs; the take of brown and black bears over bait as well as allowing hunters to use dogs to hunt black bears would not only be a disgrace but would be a manipulation of natural population dynamics, which conflicts with National Park Service law and policy. National park areas, including preserves, are managed to maintain natural ecosystems and processes, including wildlife populations and their behaviors.

To allow hunters to shoot swimming caribou from a boat or shoot caribou that have emerged from the water onto the shoreline while the hunter is still on the boat is not only cruel but unethical.
The rules put into place by NPS in 2015 were an enormous step in the right direction and put a stop to abhorrent acts of inhumanity in and around Alaska’s national preserves.

Predator reduction, masked as liberated hunting opportunities, is no more than an underhanded effort to suppress numbers of bears, wolves and coyotes in order to boost prey species, including moose and caribou. Allowing the hunting of predators in our preserves is, quite simply, a way around federal authorization for “predator control” and thus NEPA review. This is incompatible with the Park Service’s mandate to preserve “natural ecosystems,” including at its 20 million acres of national preserves in Alaska. National parks and preserves were set aside by Congress as havens for wildlife to live in natural, not manipulated, ecosystems.

Again, I strongly oppose
amending regulations for sport hunting and trapping in National Preserves in Alaska. This proposal defies years of research and the advice of scientists.
Submit your comment directly here.

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