In June the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a new rule, with a host of regulations, that would allow sport hunting practices such as bear baiting in the Kenai Wildlife Refuge. Over 34,000 public comments on the changes were submitted over the summer, and in early October, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will hold an additional public hearing
and public comment period on the proposed regulations.
The additional comment period is currently open, and will remain so until November 9. A virtual public hearing on the proposed rule is scheduled for Monday, October 26 at 4:00 p.m. Alaska Standard Time.
The new regulations essentially defer to state hunting regulations on federal lands in Alaska, and the two bodies could not have goals further in opposition. The primary purpose of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (under federal management) is to conserve fish and wildlife in their natural diversity, including wolves and bears. The state’s goal is to maximize game harvests for hunters, which often results in aggressively liberal hunting regulations of bears and wolves. The state of Alaska has long been known for its gross mismanagement of predator populations.
Check out a fact sheet on the proposed changes from Alaska Wildlife Alliance here. You can also find information on how to register for the public hearing, and a link to submit your comment.