AK Senators Say Federal Permits Should Not be Required for Subsistence Bird Hunters

Alaska’s Senators say rural Alaskans hunting birds for subsistence should not have to get a federal permit.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife is requiring the “duck stamps” for hunting or gathering birds’ eggs.

The $15- permits are used throughout the country, but Alaskan subsistence hunters have long gotten an exemption. That is now ending. Fish and Wildlife is starting enforcement and ticketing this spring.  Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced legislation in Washington to counter that – it would remove the requirement for Alaska’s subsistence users.

Murkowski says the duck stamps are not traditional practice for Alaska’s hunters.

Earlier this month Begich wrote to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking him to review the duck stamp requirement.  In 2001, the Interior Department’s regional solicitor in Alaska found that subsistence hunters should be made to buy and carry the stamps.  But Begich says that’s a hardship, and not realistic in rural Alaska.

Groups including the Alaska Federation of Natives and the Association of Village Council Presidents are advocating to get the duck stamp requirement removed.

The Senators’ bill now goes to the Environment Committee in the Senate.

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC

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