Temporary Wildlife Special Action Requests and revisions to Policy on Nonrural determinations

During an August 15, 2019 work session, the Federal Subsistence Board (Board) took action on three Temporary Wildlife Special Action Requests. The Board approved WSA19-01 (Unit 18 moose) with modification, approved WSA19-02 (Unit 2 wolf), and approved WSA19-04 (Unit 23 moose) with modification.

The Board also adopted Regional Advisory Council Annual Report Replies and proposed revisions to the Board’s Policy on Nonrural Determinations. The revisions to the Board’s Policy on Nonrural Determinations include edits to the Threshold Requirements and policy timeline. The Board also approved Threshold Assessment templates. These changes will take effect during the next nonrural cycle, starting in January 2022.

The Board approved Temporary Wildlife Special Action Request WSA19-01 with modification. Approval of this action expands the moose hunt area in the portion of Unit 18 south of and including the Kanektok River drainage to the Goodnews River drainage to include the entire area south of the Eek River drainage and north of the Goodnews River drainage to match the existing State hunt area.

It also rescinds the Federal public lands closure within this newly described hunt area, and opens a Sept. 1–Sept. 30 season with a harvest limit of one antlered bull by State registration permit. The Board added a modification to issue a temporary Delegation of Authority letter, allowing the in-season manager to close Federal public lands to non-Federally qualified users if warranted. The Board noted that approval of this action unifies State and Federal regulations, and that rescinding the closure is in line with the Board’s closure policy. The Board will have an opportunity to discuss this action further at the next wildlife regulatory meeting, when they deliberate on Wildlife Proposal WP20-32/33, which requests to make this a permanent regulation.

The Board approved Temporary Wildlife Special Action Request WSA19-02, changing the sealing period for wolf hunting and trapping from “within 14 days of harvest” to “within 30 days of the end of the season,” and removing language referencing a “combined Federal-State harvest quota” for wolves in Unit 2 for the 2019/20 regulatory year. In January 2019, the Alaska Board of Game replaced managing the Unit 2 wolf population through harvest quotas with managing for a population objective. The Federal Subsistence Board stated this new management strategy was designed to ensure a sustainable population and encourage better harvest reporting. The Board also stated that announcing predetermined season lengths provides predictability to users and renders the in-season sealing requirement unnecessary.

The Board approved Temporary Wildlife Special Action Request WSA19-04 with modification. This action eliminates the cow moose season in Unit 23 for the 2019/20 regulatory year (Nov. 1–Dec. 31), which should help the moose population recover and prevent further declines. This action also more closely aligns Federal and State hunting seasons and harvest limits. The Board added a modification to issue a temporary Delegation of Authority letter to the National Park Service in-season manager to close Federal public lands to non-Federally qualified users if warranted.

Additional information on the Federal Subsistence Management Program may be found on the web at www.doi.gov/subsistence or by visiting www.facebook.com/subsistencealaska.

This news release was issued on August 21, 2019 by the U.S. FWS Federal Subsistence Board.

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