Federal Proposals to CLOSE Alaska's GMU 23 and 26A to caribou and moose hunters

Larry Bartlett

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I'm saying NO to this closure proposal because it is another blatant, arbitrary misuse of the federal system by Northwest Arctic Native communities to propose closing federal lands for hunting to all non-local people.

This illegitimate proposal has no scientific merit, no biological necessity, nor is it supported by ADFG.

It is long time to challenge these repetitive actions of non sensical self-derived claims to all the caribou and moose in GMU 23 and 26A by native communities when unsupported by state wildlife management agencies and the science that drives effective state management. Access to public lands for hunting has been granted by the state of Alaska and the federal government since statehood was adopted in 1959, and for 60 years the state has observed and managed wildlife (at great financial expense) to make sound decisions concerning subsistence allocations, hunting bag limits and open seasons . These closures refute state wildlife management decisions, thereby discounting scientific data, resource allocations set by the BOG, and equal access to state wildlife resources. Hunters need to stay informed and take action by going on record against federal management of wild game in Alaska, specifically these types of arbitrary attempts to close public lands to hunting by non-locals. NO! If they want conflict resolution, the will get the opposite from me with this decision. I Ive been an Alaska resident for over half of my life span. I eat wild game from these regions and I vow to continue despite this attempt to block me from public lands in this region until ADFG and the BOG agrees to a closure..

Until closures are supported by the State of Alaska, I will continue to hunt below the centurion mean high water mark on lands closed by this proposal and all like it on federal public lands..

https://mail.gci.net/service/home/~/...d=75922&part=2

https://mail.gci.net/service/home/~/...d=75923&part=2

If you're an organization leader or member, get your hunters and political sympathizers involved to stop this closure BEFORE user conflict with defensive resolution becomes a tangible news event where non-local hunters clash with locals in these proposed closed landscapes...not over rights to hunt caribou but for the right to access public lands below mean high water. Everything below mean high water mark on navigable streams in Alaska are claimed by the state of Alaska, not the federal government,

Enforcement of this closure is impossible due to man power and political grayness. The best action is to dissolve this proposal and defer to ADFG and the BOG as well as the Alaska State Hunting Regulations for legal hunting seasons and bag limits. WSA or not, I'm hunting GMU 23/26A this year now for sure!

LB
 

trapperJ

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So this BS is back again? I have a trip planned to a 26A river and I fully intend to hunt on MY/OUR PUBLIC LANDS unless the science were to say other wise.

Got any links Larry? The ones in your post didn't work for me.
 

Ono

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Clarktar

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Is there a narrative the accompanies this policy proposal? Rationale, reasoning, data, issues, analysis, anything? The link I provided is really just details on WHAT the policy results in, and how to participate in a public comment period. It would be nice to understand the context and what is being proposed as supporting evidence for the need of this type of policy action BEFORE I participate in the call. I will keep googling but figured I would ask here as well.

One red flag right away, the Northwest Arctic Regional Advisory Committee only has one user group represented across all 7 members.... Subsistence. No other user group is represented.

Probably lots of information here:

These meeting notes have been enlightening so far. CNTRL F for moose, or caribou

 
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Larry Bartlett

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Yeah I tried to get a seat at the Northwest Arctic Regional AC and was flat out denied based on my zip code, despite having worked with the Western Arctic Caribou Working Group for years as the Fairbanks Hunters chair.

They are claiming the same tired song about caribou being disturbed by aircraft and non-local hunters, which then disrupts the herd migration and affects subsistence harvest. They aren't seeing the numbers they are used to seeing and their success is affected by anyone outside of the zip code. They stopped citing the "why" on the public notification because they learned having it isn't as important as just submitting the proposal with minimal language open to interpretation.
 

Clarktar

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Reading the minutes from the November meeting is very interesting. Many times it is mentioned they do not have the data compiled for 2020 as far as # of hunters, operating transporters, or the number of animals harvested. They do have the 2019 numbers (they were available spring 2020) and are using them in the discussion. Another quick thought is; Why not just wait until you have the 2020 numbers (which was stated in the November meeting notes as being available in Spring of 2021) to help complete the context that you are wanting to set your policy into.

I am on page 152 of 195 right now. I have compiled a word document of interesting pieces if anyone is interested.

Page 171 you start to see more reporting from Biologists.
 
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Clarktar

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Yeah, read this from page 84-95 and see what kind of shit they've come up with for trying to find a reason to shut down that region. They quoted "hearing about" non-locals in a white van dumping caribou in trash cans all over Kotz...no photo evidence just literal hearsay. Bullshit!

Yea, they kept bringing up wasted meat, meat in trash bags etc. But the enforcement people on the line said that they could not substantiate any of the rumors and that they had seen almost all successful hunters using game bags etc.
 

mcseal2

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The telephonic public hearing is open to anyone I take it, not just AK residents? I will try to participate if so. I don’t agree with federal lands being restricted in this way.

Thanks Larry for bringing this up.
 
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Larry Bartlett

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yes anyone can call in during that meeting. However, a warning from past experience. Start your call at 5pm or sooner because the natives will call in and play the game of wasting minutes with frustrating childlike conversation and often incoherent blabber. It's an obvious attempt to waste the time allocated for the meeting itself.
 

Beendare

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They feel they have an administration that will bow to their ridiculous agenda As it has already done with many other special interest groups.

—-
 

Clarktar

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It seems apparent to me that the Arctic Northwest RAC needs another user group represented. If the policies enacted affect more than just subsistence users then those stakeholder groups should be represented.

Hopefully someone who lives in the appropriate zip code will join the RAC and represent stakeholders other than just subsistence.

Might make sense to point out to the FSB that recommendations that corn from this particular RAC should be placed into the context of only being put forward by subsistence users and no one else which will likely lead to future conflicts.

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Larry Bartlett

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nah Clarktar, that ain't and can't happening. Im sure you got a vibe of the transcript dialog. Those same people are on the RAC for that region and the discussions feel more like a hard-to-follow-illogical digression amongst locals who complain about opportunity and blame anything and everything except themselves, discount science unless it supports their agenda, and then switch between languages to communicate and then collectively agree on points of interest without considering "non-local" input. The Working Group opened my eyes to those communities being strongly opposed to all non-local presence, expertise, and voice in matters concerning wildlife but not from government handouts, sewer and water infrastructure, airstrips and maintenance...and they have a collective motivation to use the "federal systems" as a tool for getting more of what they want vs finding middle ground resolutions for co-existing with non-locals (i.e., tax payers who fund their infrastructure). In the big picture, non-local contributions to only one community (Kotz) for one month of the year doesn't derive a value proposition to them as a regional community. They simply don't want non-locals in their area period and will continue to propose, without scientific validity, every year the same kinds of restrictions on non-local hunters. The FSB has become a TOOL for their misguided use, and it doesn't bode well for non-locals and it makes the FWS and FSB operate like a broken record player repeating the same tired song year after year.
 

Clarktar

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And to think I was happy leaving behind the Judge Bolt decision fallout, salmon wars, and resulting management complexities back down in WA state.

Thanks for the heads up on this on Larry.

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Larry Bartlett

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Here is a refresher of the same type of proposal they tried in Barrow during the 2017 cycle, where they wanted to close GMU 26A/B citing opportunity and non-local waste of game (conservation) as well as hearsay user conflict dilemmas.

Watch my testimony from min 1:30 to 4:30. Today they're claiming wasteful meat handling by non-locals. BULLSHIT. Show me the proof, because I showed them real proof!

 
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Larry Bartlett

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In case some of you are new to the forum since 2016/17, here is earlier attempts for closing the same GMUs and the full project I made to debunk their claims and demonstrated how to legally hunt below mean high water during said closure by the FSB. Watch in order for the full throttle perspective.

Public Testimony for WSA 17-03 and WSA16-01:
My testimony is min 2:18-6:30





https://vimeo.com/201361472

https://vimeo.com/201363776
 
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Catag94

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Larry
Perhaps you’ll have more insight, but having booked and paid to hunt in the area this August, I have reached out to Chris Harris with the Siglauq to arrange for potential meat donations. I haven’t received a reply, but I assume this is one of the foremost acceptors of donated Caribou meat from hunters. It seems to me that places that accept donated meat and supply food to natives in need are a great argument against this proposal. It also seams that the federal government could assist the native communities in encouraging and benefiting from more meat donations. Where can one find statistics on donations from non-natives. If subsistence is legitimately in concern, it seems this information may be rather important. Thoughts?
 
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Larry Bartlett

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Great question and point. Bias is heavy against non-locals. You'll get blamed for being a horn hunter even if you deliver fresh meat on a silver platter as donation. Conversely, if you donate meat that is questionable, it could be used against you and non-locals by the rumor mil. Moreover, if you kept your meat and never interacted with locals and shipped it home, you'd easily be grouped into the group that "said they shipped all their meat but through most of it out of a white van into a trash can." There is no right or progressive next step because collective local opinions override common logic and good will.

I can assure you that if you were given access to the State Trooper game violations from Kotzebue, less than 0.5% would be violations committed or even suspected with non-local "sport hunters." That's fact, easily verified by interviewing any State Trooper from that region. Air taxis fear losing their reputation and permits and clients, and they have all undergone extensive training and permit-required paperwork to ensure their hunters remove all edible meat and/or report violations accordingly. So the community rumor mil's claim of anything like wasteful practices are false and lacking a single photograph or recorded event.

So I suggest quietly and legally donating any meat you don't ship to either your pilot and his family friends, or your stated option.

It's not a "subsistence need" problem, it's a local ideology and belief that non-locals are to blame for all their struggles to find game. But even in times of over population, their claims against non-locals change to any relatable topic of argument. If it's not closures to non-locals it's extending controlled use areas along the Noatak. Every year same behavior by the same people who go to these ACs, Working Groups and FSB testimonies.
 
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