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Federal Subsistence Board makes regulation changes to Units 22 and 23

The Federal Subsistence Board’s teleconference in April covered issues relevant to Units 22 and 23. Those topics included a decision to conserve Alaska hare in Units 22 and 23, a redefinition of Alaska hare, closures and rescinded closures in moose hunting, and a special action for musk ox permits.

Out of concern for the low population of Alaska hare in recent years, Alaska Department of Fish and Game submitted a wildlife proposal to create harvest regulations for Alaska hare in Units 18, 22 and 23. The motion passed and will reduce Alaska hare season to take place from August 1 through May 31. In addition, it changes the definition of Alaska hare in federal regulation to avoid confusing them with tundra hare and other species.

Bull moose sitting outside
Male Moose. Picture courtesy of Pixabay (2019).

Due to shifts in moose population size in Unit 22, the board passed four proposals regarding moose living in that unit. The first proposal requested that a closure for moose on federal public lands in and around the Shaktoolik River Drainage be rescinded from September 1 through 20, due to the fact that the moose population has grown in this area. The second proposal requested “to allow all federally qualified users to hunt on federal public lands” in and around Unalakleet, due to an increase of the moose population. The third motion proposed retaining a closure for lands around White Mountain and Golovin, while the fourth motion also proposed to retain a closure around the Kougarok and Pilgrim River drainages.

Muskox, near Nome. Photo: Jason Gablaski, Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, National Park Service.
Muskox, near Nome. Photo: Jason Gablaski, Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, National Park Service.

The Board passed a special action concerning a change in federal musk ox permits in Units 22 and 23. The item changed the permit for the 2022-2024’s cycle from a registration permit to a drawing permit. Brian Ubelaker, the wildlife biologist who presented the special action pointed out that this would be more of an administrative change than anything else, as permits have been distributed by draw since around 1998. Members of the board recognized drawing permits to be more equitable than registration permits, as drawing permits don’t favor those who live near the permitting office. In addition, the special act proposed to standardize the language in the delegation of the authority letters and to change the unit season manager for the federal musk ox hunt in parts of Unit 23 to the Anchorage field officer manager.

Any hunters with questions about the new regulations for Units 22 and 23 can call the Office of Subsistence Management at (907)786-3888 or toll free (800)478-1456.

Image at top: An Alaska hare. Picture courtesy of the University of Alaska Museum. 2022.

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