Board of Game considers Nelchina herd hunting permits
Board of Game considers black bear snaring
ANCHORAGE, Alaska —
Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan has issued a message to the state Board of Game this weekend, asking members to hold off on approving a community caribou hunt until after a court appeal.
During the board's Sunday's work session on the Nelchina caribou herd, Department of Law attorney Kevin Saxby relayed a message from Sullivan, asking the board not to allow a community harvest until after the court appeals process is finished.
Earlier this year, a judge found the permitting process for the Nelchina hunt illegal, sending the board's plan back to the drawing board. The state's advice got several board members fired up.
"To know that option is taken off the table, as a board member, well -- they can have my seat right now, if that's the way this game is going to be played," said board member Ted Spraker.
Board Chair Cliff Judkins says members will ignore the state's advice and move forward with what the board sees as best for the community and the caribou.
Judkins says the board's purpose is to make decisions free from political pressure, and that it's still considering a community harvest.
"If it's going to be influenced by political people, then it ought to be the department and not have a board for the public," Judkins said. "You know, we're the public's arm at these meetings -- we're here to represent the public separate from the department."
Judkins also said he was pressured by Gov. Sean Parnell and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to table a controversial proposal that would legalize black bear snaring in Alaska.
The proposal faces many critics. Some call it cruel, and applaud the state for allegedly pressuring the board to allow more time for debate.
"I'm very happy to see the Parnell administration standing up for due process and recommending to the board that they schedule the issue of bear snaring at Alaska at a fully scheduled board meeting, where the public has access and fair and equal opportunity to submit proposals on the issue," said Wade Willis with the Science Now! Project.
The board did hear public comment on the bear-snaring proposal during this weekend's hearing.
Judkins says a decision has not been made on the issue, but he expects the board won't approve snaring because it faces so much criticism.
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