*UPDATE!* A second public hearing has been added to the agenda so sportsmen can voice their opinion on closing caribou and moose hunting in Unit 23 and 26A.
Last year, the Federal Subsistence Board deferred 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.
That deferral is up as the Federal Subsistence Board recently announced a public hearing on the matter. Sportsmen should voice their concerns about the closures if unsupported by biological data.
Public Hearing Information
When: Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021
Time: 4 – 6 p.m. Alaska Standard Time (or until the end of public participation)
Teleconference: Toll Free: 888-942-9690
* * * * Second Hearing: Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021 * * * *
Time: 4-6 p.m. Alaska Standard Time (or until the end of public participation)
Teleconference: Toll Free: 888-390-1184
The proposal remains the same and would close moose and caribou hunting to non-local federal subsistence hunters during the height of the caribou migration next year.
The request, if approved by the board, would add the following language to the current federal regulations for caribou and moose in Units 23 and 26A:
“Federal public lands are closed to the harvest of caribou and moose from August 1 through September 30, 2022, except by Federally qualified subsistence users hunting under these regulations.”
According to a news release from the Federal Subsistence Board, when the board deferred WSA21-01, it directed the Office of Subsistence Management to seek additional input on concerns related to caribou from the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group, Federal land-managing agencies, local Fish and Game Advisory Committees, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils, commercial guides and transporters, and subsistence users in the area.
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.
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: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.