Some controversial hunting practices could soon come to an end in specific portions of Alaska.
The National Park Service has announced a proposal that would change regulations for hunting and trapping on national preserves in the state. It would reverse the 2020 Alaska Hunting and Trapping rule, which allowed practices including bear baiting, using a spotlight to shoot hibernating bears and cubs in their dens, shooting wolf and coyote pups and mothers in their dens, using dogs to hunt black bears, and using motorboats to shoot swimming caribou. The new proposal would, in effect, reinstate restrictions which had been put into place under the Obama administration in 2015.
The NPS says the proposal would also help minimize visitor use conflicts and safety concerns related to bear baiting. It would make hunting practices across national preserves consistent with NPS management policies, as well.
NPS Alaska Regional Director Sarah Creachbaum says, “We take seriously our responsibilities under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and the NPS Organic Act, which include mandates for hunting while also conserving and protecting wildlife in our national preserves. This proposed rule would realign our efforts to better manage national preserve lands in Alaska for natural processes, as well as address public safety concerns associated with bear baiting.”
In September, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason found flaws with the 2020 rule from the Trump administration. The case had been brought by conservation and animal rights groups. The judge didn’t block the rule, though, instead sending it back to the NPS, which was already considering changes.
Members of the public who’d like to weigh on on the proposal can do so from January 9 through March 10. These public comments will be considered as the final rule is written. It will then be published in the Federal Register and become effective 30 days later. Beginning January 9, the link to submit comments will be available here.
Would you like to see an end to bear baiting in other places? Consider signing this petition.