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Wildlife: National Park plans hunting-rule changes in Denali

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A gray wolf in Denali National Preserve. Photo courtesy Kent Miller/NPS.

State and federal bear, wolf and coyote hunting regulations at odds

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — There could be a clash between state and federal hunting regulations in Alaska, where the National Park Service is proposing some changes in Denali National Preserve, including a ban on taking brown bears over bait stations, using artificial light to take black bears at dens, taking black bear cubs and sows with cubs. The new regs would also shorten the season for hunting wolves and coyotes.

According to the park service, the changes are in response to new state regulations that allow the killing of brown bears over bait stations in three game management units, which included portions of three National Preserves. The state rules allow the killing of brown bears over bait stations in three game management units, which included portions of three National Preserves.

The proposed prohibition reflects park service concerns about the dangers of food- conditioned bears, as well as the potential impact to the natural abundance, behavior, distribution, and ecological integrity of brown bear populations.

The State has also extended the hunting season for wolves and coyotes into the summer in several areas, including nine National Preserves. The park service is proposing to prohibit the take between May 1 and August 9 because it is the period when wolves and coyotes are denning and raising offspring and their pelts have little trophy or economic value.

The park service is holding a Dec. 12 hearing as a first step leading to the potential implementation of restrictions in the annual Superintendent’s Compendium, an annual compilation of temporary closures and similar restrictions.

After taking public comments, the National Park Service may include hunting restrictions in the draft Compendium, which will be released on January 15, 2013. The text for all of the Alaska compendiums will be posted on www.nps.gov/akso/compendiums. A 30-day public comment period will also be held for the draft compendiums, with a final compendium expected to go into effect on April 1, 2013.

The Denali Preserve hearing will begin at 5 p.m. at the Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali National Park.

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4 Responses

  1. I live in Alaska and my husband hunts (for meat) and we both think these new regulations sound fair. Do people actually kill cubs and/or sows with cubs? Or denning wolves? That’s just sick and wrong whether in a national park or not, and I can’t even imagine anyone arguing that it should be allowed.

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