Millions of Acres of Public Hunting Land at Risk in Alaska

The federal government has proposed closing vast swaths of land to caribou and moose hunters to non-locals in two game management units in Alaska. The Federal Subsistence Board will review a proposal to close GMU 23 and 26A from August 1 to September 20, 2021, to hunters who do not qualify as federal subsistence hunters. These two GMUs represent more than 40 million acres of public land – about the size of the entire state of Georgia.

Action Needed!  Alaska members should participate in the public hearing by telephone and give testimony opposing the closure.

Public Hearing Information:

Friday, April 23, 2021, from 5-7 p.m. (or until the end of public participation)

Teleconference: Toll Free: (877) 918-3011                                 

Passcode: 8147177

While the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) allows the Department of Interior and the Forest Service to close hunting on federal lands to everyone except federally qualified subsistence hunters (as defined here), these types of closures should only occur when wildlife populations necessitate that action by dropping to levels that can only sustain subsistence hunters. If subsistence hunters can procure the meat they need in conjunction with recreational hunting, both hunts should occur.

The proposal to close millions of acres of public hunting land has been introduced by a regional board that advises the Federal Subsistence Board. However, no scientific data or specific reasons have been posted on the Federal Subsistence Board’s website on why this public land needs to be closed and hunting limited. There is simply a press release announcing the hearing.

“It makes no sense whatsoever to close this land for two months unless there is scientific data that supports the closure and the reduced harvest of caribou and moose during the prime hunting time,” said Bruce Tague, vice president of government affairs for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Our non-rural Alaska members deserve to know why they are being excluded access to millions and millions of acres of public land.”

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.