FWS proposes tighter rules on predator hunting in refuges

A wolf assesses the odds of stealing scavenged food from a brown bear, while two ravens feast on bits of food at the edges. Photo by Gordon Haber.
A wolf assesses the odds of stealing scavenged food from a brown bear, while two ravens feast on bits of food at the edges. Photo by Gordon Haber.

The state of Alaska has, in recent years, loosened the rules for hunting wolves and bears, but federal wildlife managers aren’t going along with it. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed new rules for predator hunting on national refuges in Alaska.

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The agency has proposed to ban taking brown bears with bait, hunting wolves during the denning season, and trapping bears, among other harvest methods. The ban would not apply to subsistence hunting, and some methods in the proposed ban aren’t broadly legal in the state anyway.

The Fish and Wildlife Service published the new proposed rule Friday. It is following in the controversial footsteps of the National Park Service. The Park Service last year banned several predator hunting practices that the Alaska Board of Game allows. The state, and sport-hunting advocates, call it a federal incursion on Alaska’s right to manage its own game.

The Fish and Wildlife Service plans nine public hearings across Alaska, starting this month in Kotzebue and Kodiak.