Tim Towarak has stepped down as Federal Subsistence Board Chair; the application period to accept a new chairperson is open until October 7th. Office of Subsistence Management employee Eugene R. Peltola, Jr., says official business will go on as usual with or without a Board Chair.
A new survey suggests the Western Arctic Caribou Herd is smaller than previously thought; it may impact the decision on whether to change hunting restrictions in Unit 23.
“I am addressing my way of life,” subsistence hunter Walter Sampson said at last week’s meeting in Kotzebue, wary of sport caribou hunters being allowed back into Unit 23.
“The very agencies that supported this effort are now finding themselves in disagreement on how to enact (it),” Charlie Lean said regarding the new hunting restrictions.
The Federal Subsistence Board has closed Unit 23 to outside hunters this fall, but the yearlong ban hasn’t cleared up the controversy or confusion surrounding the hunt.
On Wednesday, the state officials asked the Federal Subsistence Board to reconsider the yearlong closure, which goes into effect on July 1.
Last week, the Federal Subsistence Board voted to close Unit 23 to all but local caribou hunters. The closure will last for one year.
“This is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s a matter of sharing the burden of conservation between all areas and being proactive before it reaches a real crisis,” said Charlie Lean.
With ungulate populations in decline, local and state groups want to explore intensive management strategies on the Seward Peninsula—starting with a study of predator-prey relationships.
What makes a community rural? That’s a question the Federal Subsistence Board has grappled with for years. Now, federal managers are trying something new.