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The divide

caribou

The food of choice pitting hunter against hunter in the 49th state/USFWS photo

Alaska officials are suing the federal government to protect a majority of hunters from a minority of hunters in the state with the whackiest public lands issues in the country.

The minority convinced a unique entity called the Federal Subsistence Board to create a handful of quasi-private hunting reserves for state residents who meet the standard for “federally qualified subsistence users.”

Welcome to Alaska where America’s rural-urban divide feeds on steroids.

Federally qualified users are, according to the Department of the Interior, those people who live in “any community or area of Alaska determined by the Federal Subsistence Board to qualify as (rural).”

No objective standards have ever been established for which communities do and don’t qualify.

The community of Saxman, a suburb about two miles from the Southeast Alaska city of Ketchikan, is federally designated rural community. The community of Sutton, a suburb about 14 miles from the city of Palmer in Southcentral Alaska, is not.

Both Ketchikan – population 8,050 – and Palmer – population 5,937 – would be considered rural in most of America, but they are considered urban in Alaska even though the former city has no road connection to the rest of the continent.

The only way in or out of Ketchikan is by boat or airplane, but the Federal Subsistence Board judged it non-rural to make city residents ineligible for a “subsistence priority” for hunting and fishing.

Long, contentious history

The subsistence priority dates back to the Alaska National Interests Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) of 1980, which created more than 100 million acres of new national parks, preserves and wildlife refuges in the 49th state.

The law included a priority intended to give rural residents the first crack at fish and wildlife when harvestable numbers are in short supply. Many rural residents still live close to the land and depend significantly on those resources for protein.

Who should qualify for the priority and how it should be applied has been the subject of debate in Alaska ever since ANILCA became law four decades back, but the Federal Subsistence Board took the issue to new heights when it this year decided the priority should apply not just to the harvest of animals but to the hunting experience itself.

Rural residents chasing caribou in the remote Nelchina Basin some 100 to 300 road miles from the state’s largest city were having to put up with the intrusion of what they thought were too many hunters flocking north from the Anchorage Metropolitan Area home to more than half the state’s population.

The Board’s decision was popular in a large and largely uninhabited wilderness of tens of millions of acres sprawling along the south slope of the Alaska Range in what the Alaska Department of Fish and Game classifies as Game Management Unit 13 (GMU 13).

In a country increasingly split along rural and urban lines, such a decision would likely be just as popular in good parts of the rural backcountry of most Western states. But federal bureaucrats lack the legal authority to impose such a rule in the lower 48 states.

Alaska, however, is different except when it isn’t.

Backroom dealings

The state’s lawsuit against Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and a host of other federal officials contends the decision to lock urban Alaska subsistence hunters out of federal lands in GMU 13 was not only illegal under the law, but involved some hanky panky,

The lawsuit doesn’t name the players involved, but suggests there were backroom negotiations before the feds made the decision to lock out state-qualified subsistence hunters to satisfy the demands of federally qualified subsistence hunters.

If the situation here isn’t already complicated enough for the average non-hunter to understand, it only gets more so in that there are two classes of hunters in Alaska who look and act much the same but are defined differently based on where they live.

All Alaskans qualify for the state subsistence priority in GMU 13, but in order to be granted it they must agree they will not hunt big game anywhere else in the state for the year.

“Subsistence” in Alaska is basically defined as hunting for food. The Federal Subsistence Board doesn’t manage for hunting or food, however; it manages for rural subsistence as part of Alaska’s unique and complicated state and federal scheme to limit hunting opportunities.

Non-resident hunters are the first to go if the wildlife supply is judged short of the wildlife demand. Resident hunters are the next to be restricted either by a limitation on the number of resident hunting permits or – as in GMU 13 – a restriction that forces hunters to choose their meat hunting options.

Everyone agrees the state regulation forcing state-qualified subsistence hunters to chose between hunting exclusively in GMU 13 or hunting anywhere else in the state reduced the number of hunters to the point there were enough caribou to meet the demands of all hunters.

As the state’s lawsuit noted, the animals in the “Nelchina caribou in Unit 13 are above population and harvest objectives established by the state” while moose numbers are at the objectives.

The Federal Subsistence Board in July of last year accepted that reality and voted down a proposal to close federal lands to non-federal hunters. That decision was summarized this way in a document prepared for the Board’s July 2020 meeting, according to court records:

“The Board determined the requested closure was not warranted for
conservation, continuation of subsistence uses, or safety reasons. The
Board concluded that the closure was not necessary for the
conservation of healthy caribou or moose populations in Unit 13, as
these populations are routinely monitored and annual biological data
is used to inform management plans and to establish sustainable
harvest guidelines. The closure was also not shown to be necessary to
continue subsistence uses of those populations.

“Federally qualified subsistence users annual harvest rates have remained fairly consistent in comparison to the annual harvest rates by non-Federally qualified users. Nevertheless, local harvesters do experience an influx of non-local hunters and many feel displaced by this activity and alter their subsistence activities as a result. In addition, the closure would not
alleviate public safety concerns as non-Federally qualified users
would still be able to cross Federal public lands to access State and
private lands.”

Change of opinion

What happened to change that decision this July is unclear.

“Immediately prior to the scheduled meeting held by the Federal Subsistence Board on July 16, 2020,” the state’s lawsuit says, “the Federal Subsistence Board met in an unannounced executive session, delaying the start of the scheduled meeting.”

Executive sessions are closed to the public. By law, they are to be announced and the topic or topics of discussion identified. The topics that qualify for executive decisions are generally limited to litigation and personnel matters.

What was discussed in this particular executive session is unknown, but the state’s lawsuit says that what followed was a July 31 news release from Interior intended to answer “frequently asked questions” about closures of federal lands to non-rural hunters in GMU 13.

The news release revealed for the first time that the Board had on July 16 adopted a proposal  “to close the federal public lands that are open to federal subsistence hunting in Units 13A and 13B to moose and caribou hunting by non-federally qualified users for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 (hunting) seasons.”

As justification for the action, the news release said, “an individual submitted (a) special action request asking the Board to close federal public lands in Unit 13 to the hunting of moose and caribou by non-federally qualified users….The Board approved a closure in Units 13A and 13B only…due to necessity for reasons of public safety and continuation of subsistence uses.”

The only public safety issue that has been mentioned in the past has involved hunters from Glennallen – primarily federally qualified hunters – using the Richardson Highway corridor north of that community as a firing range.

Most of the 80 miles of lowland terrain along the highway between Glennallen and the largely abandoned community of Paxson to the north is forested. The highway right-of-way and that of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline which in places parallels the highway are among the best places to spot and get a shot at caribou migrating east in the fall toward wintering grounds near the Canadian border.

The lands along the highway are now closed to state-qualified subsistence hunters as are lands along several backcountry access corridors that cross the alpine tundra in the foothills of the Alaska Range off the Denali Highway. But federal officials said they cannot stop state hunters from using the trails in those corridors.

Anyone can “still travel through, camp, and hunt/trap for other species on federal public lands within the closure area,” the news release said. “The closure area also remains open to all other activities such as hiking, boating, wildlife viewing, etc.”

A U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) map outlining the closed areas describes the lands as “closed to state hunting of moose and caribou.”

Much ado

On some level, the issue is a big fight about nothing. The state owns most of the land in the area GMU 13 and some BLM lands, for reasons unclear, remain open to state-qualified subsistence hunters.

And there is nothing to stop the state from closing its lands – including the Richardson Highway corridor – to federally-qualified subsistence hunters in the interest of the safety of state-qualified hunters and motorists. Not to mention to make a point.

But then the Nelchina caribou hunt isn’t the only thing tied up in the state suit. Nelchina is simply the flashpoint for disagreement in a state where “federal overreach” on land-use issues has become a four-letter word.

The lawsuit argues the feds appear to be using ANILCA to take over management of wildlife, a state prerogative, in the 49th state. The Supreme Court of the United States in 1896 upheld the general state authority to manage wildlife.

An exception was later made for wildlife in national parks, but the National Park Service in May agreed that even there its authority applies only to parks and not the “preserves” also under its management.

A dispute between the Park Service and the state over the management of bears and wolves – the Park Service didn’t like the way the state was allowing them to be killed – ended with the federal agency conceding to “the state of Alaska’s role in wildlife management on Alaska national preserves, consistent with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and Department of the Interior (DOI) policies guiding the federal-state relationship in the management of fish and wildlife,” a Park Service media release said. 

But that agreement came as the COVID-19 pandemic was just starting the change the landscape of everything, and the state contends the feds have been using the pandemic to leverage wildlife management take over.

In April, the suit says, the Federal Subsistence Board granted federal land managers the authority to open temporary hunting fishing seasons without any sort of public review.

That action, the suit contends, was “in violation of the federal Open Meetings Act; no announcement of the meeting was made and no members of the public were given an opportunity to be present and observe actions
by the members.”

Interior defended the action as a response to COVID-19, arguing that “hunting and fishing would only be opened ‘in response to any demonstrated COVID-19-related emergency situation relating to food security that rises to the level of constituting a threat to public safety,'” the suit says.

No guidelines were established for how that determination was to be made. No public hearings were held. The state’s view was not solicited.

In the wake of the decision, “the Organized Village of Kake, a federally recognized tribal government (in Southeast), submitted a request to the Federal Subsistence Board to open a hunt, for tribal members only, allowing harvest of five male deer and two bull moose per month for 60-days,” the suit says.

“The agency field manager for the U.S. Forest Service near Kake sent a
letter to the Federal Subsistence Board dated June 12, 2020 stating he contacted Mark Roberts, Alaska SEOC Operations Section Chief for the Unified Command Mass Care Group (“Mass Care”), who confirmed there was no food security or supply chain disruption in Kake associated with COVID-19.”

Ten days later, the suit says, the Board held a meeting “to address (the proposal) and allowed testimony from only one individual: Joel Jackson, President of the Organized Village of Kake.”

Jackson said there was no food emergency in Kake – a coastal village with access to a wide range of marine resources for protein – but added that the residents prefer moose and deer over store-bought meat.

Public lands, the new reservations?

The Board then approved a 30-day hunt for the tribe. The Board has since been considering similar requests from other tribes,  although the Alaska Native Settlement Act of 1971 settled Native land claims in the state with an agreement to pay nearly $1 billion to 13 newly established regional Native corporations and award them and hundreds of village corporations title to 44 million acres of land.

The settlement was heralded at the time as an attempt to blend the descendants of Alaska’s earlier inhabitants into the fabric of the 49th state and do away with reservations and the reservation-related problems that have plagued Natives in other states.

The Native corporations have been in most ways successful, sometimes very successful. But rural Natives living far from any job opportunities have not always fared so well.

The difficulties of life in rural areas was why the subsistence provision was written into ANILCA, but the subsistence priority was extended to “rural residents” rather than “Alaska Natives” in an effort to avoid splitting rural communities along racial lines.

The Federal Subsistence Board, however, has now put tribes in charge of some hunts.

“Congress did not authorize the Federal Subsistence Board to delegate
administration of a federal subsistence hunt to a tribe or nonprofit organization, to delegate the authority to determine who is authorized to hunt to a tribe or nonprofit organization, or to limit a hunt to a tribe or nonprofit organization,” the state suit says. “Any delegation outside of the federal agency without express authorization by Congress is improper.”

In Alaska, when it comes to social divides, even the divides have divides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32 replies »

  1. Im not sure we want to open this can of worms. The constitution says all people having privileges in one stste have those privileges in all states and vise versa . Which means if im allowed to hunt a game population in Alaska as an alaskan or as a subsistence user then people from all other states are guaranteed tge same right. Currently we disallow lower 49 ers from hunting multiple game animals and often put stiffer restrictions on them . Also currently per precedent and constitutional law the feds get to manage intra state commerce and game animals arguably involve intra state commerce . I don’t agree with it all but its risky to challenge the status qoa because we could loose the right of management because its arguable its one of tge rights given to tge feds in constitution through extrapolation. unless we ready to fight hard and have our ducks lined up with the best lawyers and endless resources its risky.

    • DPR,

      This can of worms was canned long ago and has been opened and ruled the law of the land time and time again. You would be wise to follow the link Craig provided referencing the 1896 SCOTUS Ruling, or following it here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK208748/ there’s lots of good information and history there.

      The section titled Jurisdictions says this:
      “Under United States constitutional provisions, the states have primary legal responsibility for wildlife protection and administration, both through their administration of the well-established and recognized doctrine of public ownership of wildlife, and through police power. Neither of these functions was transferred to the federal government at the time the federal constitution was adopted; hence they remain with the states. The Constitution does, however, reserve to the federal government specific functions such as treaty-making and the regulation of interstate commerce. Both have frequently been applied for wildlife conservation purposes. These actions sometimes limit state jurisdiction in ways that affect the management of areas that are of national significance.”

      From further down in the link:
      “Some state control over resident (nonmigratory) game on federally owned lands has been contested by several federal agencies. In the past such conflicts have been settled in favor of the states…”

      Ultimately the Feds are once again overreaching, and to make it worse they are doing so behind closed doors.

      As far as allowing nonresidents access, all states are required to allow nonresident access to their fish and game. Some limit the access more than others…in many cases nonresidents are allowed more access to Alaskan fish and game than Alaskans are allowed in other states.

      • Steve o , im not getting into a conversation with you just because you are butt hurt and have been wrong each time we discussed. You still owe me a moose steak dinner for loosing your bet . As in telling me condescendingly “ I would do well to follow a link” You would do well not to make discussions personal. As well as carefully read the constitution with your mind open . You are an absolute idiot to think I don’t understand the states point of view. Yes im being clear and insulting. As you well know nothing that ends up going to Supreme Court is a closed can of worms. Quit showing us how little ability you have to think issues through. Do I think the state should manage its own game populations? Yes i do . Do I think they have complete right? Maybe. Thats up for Supreme Court to decide. Steve o doesn’t get to have the only say . Weve heard your side now move on and address the issue. Steve o – start from the beginning and read the constitution. Now we’re equal. I will read the link “again “ and you can re -read the highest law in the land the constitution .

      • DPR,

        The problem is, the facts do not support your opinion.

        I know, I know, I’m an idiot, I’m slow, I don’t understand anything, and I’ve never read the US Constitution. Please explain, to such an imbecile as myself, where exactly in the US Constitution the Federal Government was granted management over fish and game. You can’t because it isn’t there, sure you can talk about treaty making and interstate commerce, but that’s already been covered. Why do you think every single State in the Union, without a single exception, is violating your understanding of the US Constitution by managing the fish and game within their borders? The Supreme Court has decided your question already…numerous times and numerous ways. The US Constitution says something about the Supreme Court and the authority their rulings hold, let me go read about that real quick…yep they are still the highest court in the land and their rulings decide the law of the land. The states manage the game in their states with a few exceptions.

        I know, I know, I’m wrong each and every discussion we ever have. You call me names as an answer to the facts I bring to the discussion, that’s not much of a discussion if you ask me.

      • Steve o , I cannot help you much. The best suggestion i can make is that you look back over what ive said and re read and try and understand. You have misunderstood and mis framed my presentation of thought. Your abilities of English comprehension could use a brush up. Let the facts speak for themselves. Re read everything as well as the constitution. An important part to consider is that if the state wins its argument (which it may or may not) because the Supreme Court determines policy at their whim of legal interpretation) then the extrapolation of that win is that all citizens of all states have equal right to harvest game in Alaska or rather to the rights of lawful game harvest and use of alaska and federsl statutes . Or as the constitution puts it the citizens of each state shall be entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states. Which means the states cant discriminate against residents of other states . Just like your argument that certain areas of Alaska cant be treated differently such as rural unit 13 versus suburban anchorage ect . No discrimination based on residency. The feds cant alow or make laws that create discrimination. Which is potentially good . We are all treated fair but raises the possibility that the rest of the nation has equal right/ privileges to our game populations. Currently alaska law restricts lower 49 ers / discriminates significantly. The loss of area residency as a tool for determining privileges would take a significant tool away from game management. Which is fine because I prefer primitive harvest methods for hunting. So you see, steve rocking the boat could open legal challenges or cans of worms, which is fine by me . Let law be non discriminatory. Supreme Court whimsical decisions are why the case is not closed and thats why you are wrong again. Thats also why if alaska rocks the boat they need to be prepared to follow through and retain the best lawyers available. Underestimateing your adversary reduces the odds of success. A lot of heavy weights will throw themselves against your argument that privileges by residence is unjust.

      • Steve o , there are about 5 sections of the constitution that argue against states having full rights to complete game management but the most problematic to sovereignty is section 4 the privileges and immunities clause that prevents one state from treatment of residents of another state in a discriminatory manner. Look it up in Wikipedia for a basic explanation. ( failable as Wikipedia is ) if you dig into the constitution and game management far enough you will find that alaska manages game and fish at the feds whim . If they were hard asses they could legally take most of the management away from us especially if we passed laws not to their liking. The constitution gave the Supremes excessive power by allowing them to make judgments of legal question. Really it was reasonable to do so because it makes the constitution flexible to the needs of the era . Which is distasteful but functional.

      • DPR,

        “The feds cant alow or make laws that create discrimination.” And yet that is exactly what they have done in this case.

        The law is clear, States manage fish and game. The 10th Amendment is clear “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” There is no fish and game management section in the US Constitution.

        The precedent has been set, laws have been ruled upon. Maybe you do not believe in the Constitution or the rule of law and think that the way the legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch have acted are all wrong. But under the Constitution of the United States there is an order to how our laws are made and adjudicated. Once again there is no fish and game management section in the US Constitution, there are sections which can, in small part be used to argue for or against something related to fish and game management…this has been done numerous times and the States still manage fish and game. States, all of them as far as I know, have resident and nonresident rules and regulations some older regulations have been ruled unconstitutional others have been held to be constitutional. States can and do legally set up different resident and nonresident bag limits and season, draw tags, or points, license fees and any number of other things are different all across our Country, depending upon the state.

        You obviously have yet to read the link Craig provided that I referenced above, it’s a good informative read, one that you should take the time to peruse.

      • Steve o , only in your mind is the law clear. You are living in la la land . The supremes do their best job to clarify the law but each time they make a ruling they are allowed to change their opinions and judgment by group vote . Therefore the law is not clear unless you are steve o . You evidently need to study the constitution and related documents to get a full understanding. I know you want your narrative to be the only answer but legal life doesn’t work that way . Steve o is not the Supreme Court. Multiple sections of constitution explain how states are subservient to federal government . When you educate yourself more fully we can discuss it further. Currently you are just wasting time because you refuse to make an effort at comprehending the details. Go forth young man and study constitutional law . Enroll in some classes.

      • DPR,

        Well thanks for the help and providing all the in depth information you have anyways. One thing I’ve noticed, and perhaps you’ve noticed it also, recently many people claim their constitutional rights have been violated or that they have a right to something, when asked which rights have been violated or what right they have they are unable to express which right or where in the constitution these supposed rights are. Strange that.

        I’ll be over here in la la land citing the constitution, facts, settled case law, past precedent, current precedent, and basic common sense. You do you keep disregard facts, insulting others, and just making it up as you go.

      • Steve o , glad to hear you will keep posting, while you are at it ,take some classes so you can understand what it is you are posting and how to apply the content.

      • DPR,

        Do you mind sharing which constitutional law classes you’ve taken to help you gain your understanding of this subject? Or is this just another nebulous statement like how you explain your understanding of Federal vs State management of game by saying “Multiple sections of constitution explain how states are subservient to federal government”? I still haven’t found the section of the constitution granting management of fish and game to the Federal Government, have you? Will the classes you advise I take help me find that nonexistent section?

        Maybe everyone except you is wrong DPR, that’s probably the case with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service that says on it’s website Hunting front page: “With a few exceptions that vary by state, everyone who hunts must have the required state license(s). If you’re hunting on a national wildlife refuge, some also require their own permits and/or user fees. In additional to hunting programs, state agencies have jurisdiction over: animal control and management of non-endangered wildlife species; management of State parks, forests and recreation areas; and game warden information.” Yep even the US Fish and Wildlife service has it all wrong according to you DPR…amazing, you should let them know they’ve been doing game management wrong all this time!

      • Steve o , tell it to a judge when you go harvest a caribou on refuge or federal land without following federal regulations- better yet try it in McKinley park . Keep your state license and harvest tag on hand ( steve o says “ the law is clear and the states manage all game populations- the feds have no jurisdiction over alaska caribou harvest” the judge says “ Steve o just pay your fine and report for prison” stevo o says “ why ? I dont pay federal licensing fees ? “ the judge says baliff please lead this prisoner away- next case please.” Steve o says- “ butt butt I thought the law is clear ?” DPR whispers in the gallery “ i told him to study constitutional law and English comprehension- so sad – another good man in prison”

      • Good one DPR, completely ridiculous scenario you have baked up there. Speaking of comprehension of reading, we’ve already covered the part where National Parks aren’t managed by the states, that is one of the few exceptions as previously noted numerous times above…you must have missed that though, along with all of the other facts you simply disregard. Game management is run on the state level, even the US Fish and Wildlife Service says so. Without acceptance of a few simple basic and well known facts your entire premise is meaningless.

        So back to these “classes” you recommend I take, please tell me more, or are you just going to hold out on me like with the whole it’s in the constitution thing? I would like to know which classes you recommend so that I can understand what you are talking about.

      • Steve o, go test it out and get back with me . Shoot multiple species of animals so it’s clearly a test effort of how the law functions and actually works in real life . Let me know if it was a ridiculous baked up scenario. Try it anywhere the feds claim jurisdiction. Its easy to do because the feds own a huge section of alaska. Balls in your court. Put your money where your mouth is then get back with us . After a federal officer arrests you the law will seem more clear. You will no longer be in la la land . You might be wearing orange though and humming to yourself. Remember, tell the judge, that the feds have no right to manage game populations. Tell them you read it from a link on the internet so it must be true . Remember scream loudly while in court – the law is clear you have no right to manage game populations!!! Tell them the charges are ridiculous and baked up . Then post of your experience on this site . Im intrested to see how it goes . Take notes so you can share everything. Perhaps you should talk to a lawyer first to see if your plan is on solid legal grounds.

      • And back to the reductio ad absurdum arguments, why am I not surprised?

        So you can’t find where the US Constitution grants the Feds management of game (because it’s not there), you can’t provide the list of classes that you recommend so that I can understand what the secret is that you and you alone hold, and you can’t even begin to refute the basic fact that the states are responsible for game management with a few previously mentioned exceptions. Had you accepted the simple basic fact that the states manage game then we could have had an actual discussion about the merits of this latest action by the Feds, but since you refuse to accept common knowledge facts we find ourselves dealing with your fantastically absurd scenarios.

        Once again DPR, it’s been fun.

      • Steve o says “reductio ad absurdum” inigo montoyo says “you keep using that word and i do not think it means what you think it does” . A question for steve o . If a big dog chooses not to bite a little dog , does that mean the big dog cant bite the little dog ?

      • Yep, still means what I thought it means…Reductio ad absurdum is also known as “reducing to an absurdity.” It involves characterizing an opposing argument in such a way that it seems to be ridiculous, or the consequences of the position seem ridiculous. It can be ridiculous in the sense that the argument seems silly, or ridiculous in the sense that no reasonable person would take such a position. That is exactly what you have done with your absurd shoot multiple big game species in a National Park scenario, just absurd.

        After a while the big dog grows use to having little dogs nip at their heals, and they don’t find the need to bite back…even though the nipping grows tiresome. Instead the big dog points out to the little dog how tiresome and pointless the nipping is…stop nipping little dog, stop nipping.

      • Steve o , so now you say someone shooting illegal animals in the park or on federal lands is reductio ad absurdum – wait ! Many people have shot illegal animals or done illegal activities in the park or federal lands and sufferd the consequences – some have even argued federal law doesn’t apply to them on state lands . So maybe just maybe its not an absurd example nor an absurd piece of an argument. So maybe you don’t know how to apply the word. Definitions matter steve o . English comprehension issues you have . 😉 . So you say the big dog tires of the little dog nipping at his heels and chooses not to bite the little dog you say . Similar perhaps to how i have chosen to ignore your nipping and not go out of my way and provide detailed constitutional law information for you to ignorantly dismiss ? Information that’s already been provided in direct documentation form via constitution , federalist papers and other publications? You are free to use your own time to look it up up and ignore what you read . Logic is not your strong point steve o . Just because I choose not to play your game and write a thesis for you has no bearing on wether or not the facts support my point. Just because you cant see an atom doesn’t mean its not there . Get yourself educated steve o and look harder. Maybe someday when i feel like it i will provide information for you to peruse . Until then study up .

      • Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah…

        Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah…..

        Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

        Thanks for the laughs DPR, seriously, thanks for the laughs you sure are funny.

      • It’s all good DPR. As you know, I’m not a constitutional law expert…I don’t play one on TV, and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn last night. I’m just a guy who, as you have previously noted numerous times, is slow, an idiot, doesn’t understand, doesn’t know how to read or even comprehend for that matter. The thing about the US Constitution is it was written at a time when the common man had almost no formal education, it’s not a hard document to read and understand by any means and certainly a person with my diminished abilities can understand a small percentage of the words that were written in it. Perhaps you have a greater level of education than I, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. If that is the case then shame on you for not sharing your learnin’ with us who don’t have none.

        Bottom line, once again, this is about Federal overreach dealing with a public resource on public land all so a certain segment of society can have easier access to that shared resource, not for any other reason. That is wrong.

      • Steve o , trying to force the feds to give up their alleged right to control game populations is a tough row to hoe . Because the constitution goes out of its way to show the states are subservient to the United States or feds . Its clarifed again and and again throughout. Not saying there couldn’t be success but Alaska is especially tough to get freed up because the feds own much of our state and the constitution gives them exceptional leeway to do as they see fit on land they “own” or even not own but have requirements to manage for society. Now the constitution looks a little differently at the people. It starts with Declaration saying derives just powers from consent of the governed . That clarifies that the people have the final say .Not so much lee way for the states . Obviously abridged concept . Yes the people are expected to stay civil. What im getting at is the constitution is big on rights for the people. For states not so much. Your main goal appears to be equality. Well your personal rights and the rights of many citizens are being trampled on by the fed by discrimination of your residence location or your finances , your lack of being native or what have you. Therefore under article 4 section 2 , and the 9th ,10 th , and 14 th amendments section 1 of the us constitution your rights or privileges are being violated. As well as the intent of many elements of the Declaration of Independence which puts weight on life liberty and pursuit of happiness as well as equality. You have majorly good odds of getting any laws that discriminate based on location of residence , race or finances struck down. Article 4 section 2 deals with location intimately. Discrimination by residence is clearly unconstitutional. Sadly winning on this front could mean an influx of unrestrained out of state hunters. Yet you would have equality with other Alaskans. Which is a start . It might take pressure off state lands . Then the deeper fight would be how to allow Hunting access on more federal lands . How to show hunting is intergal to your rights and how un reasonable restricted areas infringes on rights . Maybe like you said to get the feds grubby hands off any game in the state . One way is to tell the feds that if they are claiming land ownership equals the right to manage game then since the constitution doesn’t restrict the right of citizens to manage game we should also have the right to manage game on our personal property . There is constitutional merit in that argument as well as historical English law precedent which our constitution has roots in and the supreme court recognizes. Just a rough guess says residence law would get struck down by Supreme Court majority. Only asinine judges like me would say “ your rights and privileges are equal and not effected becouse you can move” most judges that ive observed wouldn’t look at it my way because my way takes it to far and is impractical. Only a few judges are impractical. Thus I think you would win on a citizen level. Not as easily on a state level. Still it might take years or generations to get your hunting rights recognized like it did to free the slaves and for womens rights. Both of which were fairly clear in the original constitution especially after bill of rights but even from the intent of the Declaration of Independence. Cultural conditions were not right and in Benjamin Franklins words – “ let it sleep a bit” he was an avid abolitionist and his state had already outlawed slavery pre constitution. Slavery by race or blood was never constitutional . Sometimes war must be fought to get rights recognized. The problem is the union fought to diminish the acknowledgment of states rights. The feds dont wanna let it fly . The right of states to manage themselves is limited by the feds and frankly the constitution. Under article 1 section 8 and 10 article 3 section 1 and 2 article 4 section 2 article 6 amendment 8 section 1 and 2 amendment 14 section 1 , 2, 4,5 amendment 16 amendment 24 section 1 and 2 amendment 26 section 1-2 . Some of those don’t explicitly say the word state but they imply it . So in short getting the feds to back away from state control is not easy. Citizens position is much much stronger. I apologize for not detailing it all out but i just dont have time. So this is the jist . It would require a shocking amount of historical and legal context to clarify. A second item to note is that the founders and especially the select few writers were very educated and had major forsite effectively creating a living document through the Supreme Court. Assuming its easy to read and understand is a mistake. It takes extreme legal and historical background to fully understand. Contract law ect . Even to the point of reading the people who created and inspired it . Our founders letters and also federalist papers as well as Locke , the greeks , and many many more . The intellectual ability of our founders was surprisingly high. Thats why its interpretation is in the hands of multiple Supreme Court members. Yes it was written in part for the common man but more so for the intellectual element of society. Its concepts are condensed and very far reaching which makes it a tough document to immediately see the full ramifications of each section yet also take it as a whole. Good day dear sir . I cant address what’s needed in full.

      • DPR,

        Thanks for the lengthy response and for pointing out the sections of the constitution that deal with federal powers over states and lands, but nobody is contesting that. This isn’t about whether the Feds are the land manager, they are…this is about who is the game manager, they aren’t.

        Since you simply discard the fact that the states (as in each and every single one of them) manage game with a few previously noted exceptions, and there is case law to support state management of game, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service itself readily admits states manage game, and since the US Constitution does not have a game management section granting that power to the Federal Government and in fact allows for the state management of game through the 10th Amendment…let’s just pretend that none of that matters even though it is all pertinent to this case. The Feds violated their own rules on subsistence management by attempting to manage game through land closures not for any of the reasons they are allowed to by law and the aforementioned exceptions, but simply because some people want easier access and less competition. If the state or the people of the state allow this to happen unchallenged then what happens next? No dipnetting for you on the Kasilof because you aren’t local. No dipnetting for the people of Anchorage on the Kenai because they aren’t local, no dipnetting on the Copper for the people of Fairbanks because they aren’t local. Can’t hunt federal land anywhere unless it’s within whatever arbitrary number of miles of your home…the list goes on and on.

        Just to clarify, and since as you well know my comprehension ability is beyond subpar, when you said “Only asinine judges like me” are you saying that you are a judge, as in you sit on the bench and rule on legal cases? If so, and no offense, that is truly a frightful thought. I’ve known a few judges over the years and it’s always been a frightful thought when I find out their profession.

      • Steve o , i get your point which is valid. You are missing mine which is that its factual that the feds manage game through constitutional law via restristions on the states powers . (At any moment they choose.) To take a right from someone it doesn’t have to be stated explicitly if its implied . The states only manage themselves at the whim of federal law. Yes the feds could take over all game management if they chose to but they dont for multiple reasons. I gave you the beginning details of how the feds legally justify these actions so its not technical federal overreach its federal exercise of their given powers . It feels like over reach if you don’t understand how the law functions . The feds do it by multiple restrictions. Read all those I mentioned and you will see the feds limit the states every chance they get . Thats why freeing alaska to manage in full is unlikely to occur. There are next to no limits on personal freedom as compared. Yes feds could step in and manage kasilof to a high degree. Will they ? Probably not unless they can proove its to manage the game for a better society result such as they claim illegal or mismanagement by the state of Alaska,or the Supreme Court gives them additional lee way . I dont like it but its the way its set up . Our founders may have done it to gaurantee the feds had the strength to override state mistakes, hold our nation together so a state couldn’t legally go rouge and also perhaps to centralize power so our nation could compete more effectively against world powers like Britain, spain ect ect or so the ball would be in fed court to gradually reduce human rights issues. What you have to do is try and understand how far a given power or restriction on state power can be taken by federal lawyers and judges and what implications they can extract from the language and the supporting documents not directly attached to the constitution. Contract law allows that . = context . Someday perhaps i will detail it exactly for you .

      • Steve o, the feds also consider most fish and game a movable changeable public resource which gives them even more legal lee way to effect its management. They just choose to let the states deal with most of . “ the states responsibility” that wordage per your link -means its not technically the states right. Its the states “responsibility”. If the states dont live up to that responsibility in come the feds . Yes I understand case law but the Supremes have the right and responsibility to change their decisions or legal judgments with the feds input . Or sometimes the people’s or states input. Case law is very important and it goes into a Supremes decision but it doesn’t bind them . The constitution gave the feds a foot and man do they exercise that foot . Thankfully citizens rights are not easily curtailed due to various parts of constitution. There was major discussion and disagreement on wether to include a bill of rights. Many very smart founders fought against it for fear it could be construed somewhere and sometime to limit individuals rights. It was a major legit battle over bill of rights for fear of spelling out a few would could be construed as a limit somewhere. You probably know all that but it’s interesting argument in the letters and papers .

  2. What could also fix the problem would be for Alaska to amend its constitution to allow giving a priority to real subsistence users. This was blocked by the AOC and other ideological extremists and the price has been high ever since with dual management. This said, it appears to be a real overreach by the Federal Subsistence Board that probably shouldn’t and won’t stand this challenge.

    I read the litigation and it is interesting that it maintains that moose in GMU 13 are “at desired levels” because the state has an ongoing “intensive management” program to kill more wolves in order to increase moose harvests. They’ve also been killing brown bears by regulation liberalization for decades in a failed effort to accomplish the same objective. I think the lawyers who wrote the litigation forgot to ask the biologists about this contradiction.

    Generally, Craig gets these kinds of things pretty right and he did this time too.

  3. Alaska F&G has shown that their only “conservation” tactic is predator control.
    I personally am glad the feds are stepping in and wish they would quickly step in and offer some conservation guidelines to help restore the natural runs of salmon facing extinction here in the Upper Cook Inlet.
    It looks like F&G has written off the local sport fishing and personal harvest group here in the mat su borough for good?
    BTW…What ever happened to that dip net fishery on the Susitna River that was supposed to be added this summer?
    I was told by numerous guides on the river that the stretch of water in question (by the confluence of the Yentna River) is far too turbulent for fishing and that the land involved at that location is all private and off limits to boaters & fisherman?
    Seems like that fishery will never produce a single fish for locals to harvest?
    What is really going on at these board meetings?

  4. I’m glad the state is taking this issue to court. The right for Americans to equally access our common land and common resource should not be left to bureaucrats to decide (illegally behind closed doors nonetheless) who their favorite is on any given day.

    On a side note, a hunter can still hunt big game elsewhere in the state if they hunt moose or caribou in GMU 13, they just can’t hunt moose or caribou in any other GMU.

    • I believe one can hunt anywhere unless you have a specific permit. For example if you have a moose permit for Unit 13 you can only hunt moose in Unit 13. Sames goes for a Unit 13 caribou permit.

      • Correct, the state Tier I Permits (state subsistence permit) for Unit 13 are the ones that limit you from hunting other areas. If you win a draw permit or hunt a general season harvest tag you can hunt other areas as long as you haven’t taken your bag limit for the year in those areas.

        From the ADFG website and State subsistence hunt supplement:
        • If your household applies for a Unit 13 Tier I caribou permit, your
        household WILL receive a permit.
        • No member of the household will be eligible to apply for or receive any
        other state caribou Drawing/Registration permits or general season
        caribou harvest tickets.
        • No member of the household may hunt caribou outside of Unit 13.
        • No member of the household will be eligible to apply for or receive any
        moose permits outside of Unit 13. Household members may apply for moose
        Drawing hunts in Unit 13 only (DM324 and DM325).
        • No member of the household may hunt moose outside of Unit 13.

        https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/applications/web/nocache/license/huntlicense/pdfs/2020-2021_subsistence_supplement.pdf8CA7F952835E42D735B4E72EE58CD67B/2020-2021_subsistence_supplement.pdf

  5. Alaska’s Congressional Delegation are the only ones who can put a stop to the “duel” between the Federal land managers and the State of Alaska over who manages and allocates fish and game on Federal lands/waters in Alaska.

    For the last 40 years Alaska’s lone Congressman and 2 senators have either failed or not even tried to put a stop to the Dual Management of fish and game regime that has divided Alaskan who choose to gather fish and game as a wildfood source.

    Thanks to the Dunleavy Administration for once again trying to fix a poorly written federal law, ANILCA in federal court. Unfortunately for Alaskans only an act of Congress amending ANILCA will really fix the problem. Only Congress can put a stop to the duel, either way tell us now. Do federal mandates allow federal authorities to hand out hunting and fish permits to local residents only while close harvest to all others? To Alaska Native tribes? Tell us now so both the federal land managers and the state can stop wasting Alaskans time and resources fighting over who gets to allocate public resources on federal (public) lands and waters.

    • Rod Arno – why would our congressional delegation do anything? You and the other railbelt conservatives will still vote for Young and Sullivan no matter what they do and if they go after subsistence they will lose the rural and native vote. Don’t be so idealistic bud – this isn’t the BOF or BOG!!

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