Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Local group, FG and Feds collaborate to restrict hunting

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    907
    Posts
    255

    Default Local group, FG and Feds collaborate to restrict hunting

    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/articl...ting-proposed-

    So, there is a decline in caribou numbers, an admission that caribou populations (for millennia) are cyclic but a local group (that harvests 10-15 thousand caribou a year) concocts a caribou management plan; without any authority to do so, and then NPS/BLM (with the blessing of ADF&G) use's this local groups "management plan" as justification to restrict non local hunting opportunity to stop the decline.

    Meanwhile, the hope is that the rest of us sit idle, "buy into the local fix" , and COMPLETELY ignore the fact the stated goal of "their" plan is to continue to kill 10's of thousand's of caribou a year.

    Like...for millennia 'locals' have used outboard motors, snow machines and AR15's to slaughter 10's of thousands of caribou a year...Yep..some real smart folks out in Western Alaska have come up with a plan to fix the problem of declining caribou alright.

    Oh yah...the local group and the Feds might need to put a stop to some road building in the area too. Roads are bad for caribou numbers too..mother nature being what it is ya know...

    IMO
    Among the numerous threats to future hunting opportunities for all Alaskans is this Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group "model".

    The State Department of Fish and Game advocating and actively participating in development of illegal "local" management plans AND then encouraging federal agencies to take over management of our resources in support of an illegal "management plan" does not appear as a 'model' developed in the best interest of ALL Alaskans.

    This "model" may turn out to be the most significant threat to public access to fish and game yet and is (or will) infect our entire system of game management intended to benefit all alaskans.

    WACH working group needs to be defunded and disbanded.





  2. #2

    Default

    I think you're venting more about state and federal intervention more so than touting factual data. In any case, you've misrepresented what the WACH Working Group is all about and also what authority the Group has regarding management agendas.

    1. The WG has representatives from all local villages within the herd's historical patterns of migration and therefore its use by Native consumers. Along with those representatives, there are seats for sport hunters, guides, and transporters who also use this herd for hunting and food gathering. BLM, F&G, and USFWS are present at meetings but do not sit on the board. I represented the seat for sport hunters (Fairbanks Hunters) for three years and attended meetings through 2012.

    2. The main focus of the WG is to help educate local villages about herd status trends, winter and summer range quality and seasonal patterns, as well as for sharing communication about user conflicts between Native and non-native hunters and transporters. In this type of forum, ideas and beliefs are hammered out and openly discussed to help ease the growing tension between user groups. It helps dispel fact from fiction, so to speak. Because of this communication opportunity the WG has been a great resource to connect native communities to other users outside their traditional hunting grounds.

    3. State and federal agencies share their research and mediate group members through important discussions about what is currently being done with management and what might work to improve the stability of the herd. In no way does a state management plan get influenced by what has been gathered from these meetings. The only thing the WG can and has done is collect broad intellectual data and provide input to the BOG and ADFG for management recommendations, which helps guide road development (Ambler and Umiat road projects and the Red Dog Mine access), recommend ways to reduce user conflict, and suggest possible solutions for reducing hunting impacts on a declining herd.

    4. Annual harvest of caribou from the WACH has remained less than 4% for over 20 years, which equates to between 7-9,000 caribou total harvest. Still, the largest majority of harvests are taken by Natives from the communities within GMUs 22, 23, and 26. Sport hunters, both resident and non-resident, account for about less than 1% of the total annual harvests. So, with this working knowledge, in no way has the WG suggested to limit hunting opportunities for sport hunters. The data suggest that with herd declines, bag limits should be one of many areas of concern for the State to consider, along with range quality, weather events, and calf and cow health and mortality. With decreasing numbers on the trend, hunting bag limits should be carefully managed to continue to provide opportunities for local and non-local users.

    5. The only tangible threat to the public access is a continuation of user conflicts, which are more easily dealt with at these WG meetings, where all users come together and discuss ways to reduce such occurrences.

    6. Predation by wolves is the highest threat alert for this herd, with grizzly bears being second. The best thing that can happen to reduce these numbers is for local natives and sport hunters to shoot more wolves and bear within this herd's migration ranges.

    I hope this helps your impression of a Working Group, but it seems to me that your facts are not quite solid enough to change your own mind about the structure of such a resource. It's not a State or Fed agenda, but merely a resource for all user groups to openly communicate about current issues involving the herd and its human users.

    larry

  3. #3
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default

    Appreciate your post, Larry. Your harvest #s though seemed low, so I was just looking through some of the past WACH working group plans I have on file.

    In 2003, when the herd peaked, the subsistence harvest was listed as 15-16,000 animals, and nonres/nonlocal at 1,000. In 2011 the reported subsistence take was 10-15,000, with nonres/nonlocal take about 500-800.

    Tsunami, I don't see these working group models as a negative. Yes, certainly there will be self-serving agendas, as I saw on the Fortymile working group. Hunters want what they want, continued harvest opportunities. Some hunters want to restrict others before they are restricted or lose opportunity. Entirely normal.

    Overall, these working groups are supposed to come up with a plan that looks down the road to the future, that ostensibly includes compromises so all members will sign on to the plan. Part of that includes recommendations on what to do if the WACH herd declines to a certain level. Like stop calf harvests or cow harvests, or limit nonres take in favor of subsistence uses. That's pretty much common anyhow across the state, whether there is a working group associated with it or not ... in the end the BOG has the final say on any regulation changes. Which indeed could affect public access if a certain segment of the public (like nonresidents or nonlocals) is limited in some way. But really isn't that the norm statewide ... working group or not, working group plan or not? It all ends up before the BOG either way.

    Cheers,

  4. #4
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Wrangell
    Posts
    7,600

    Default

    There has never been a fair plan for all in anything.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    907
    Posts
    255

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    I think you're venting more about state and federal intervention more so than touting factual data. In any case, you've misrepresented what the WACH Working Group is all about and also what authority the Group has regarding management agendas.
    WACH has no authority to make a management plan. WACH has no authority to set seasons, bag limits or otherwise limit resident hunting opportunity.

    If I am wrong...then please provide the authority you rely on.

    WACH's agenda has manifested:
    Continue slaughtering 10's of thousands of caribou utilizing snow machines, outboard motors and modern weapons and limit non local opportunity and call it a management plan.

    That fact; the agenda has manifested, is now in evidence and not a misrepresentation my friend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    . The WG has representatives from all local villages within the herd's historical patterns of migration and therefore its use by Native consumers. Along with those representatives, there are seats for sport hunters, guides, and transporters who also use this herd for hunting and food gathering. BLM, F&G, and USFWS are present at meetings but do not sit on the board. I represented the seat for sport hunters (Fairbanks Hunters) for three years and attended meetings through 2012.
    From the perspective of non local hunters you obviously you had no influence; or were completely ineffective, on WGs agenda to limit only non local hunters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    . The main focus of the WG is to help educate local villages about herd status trends, winter and summer range quality and seasonal patterns, as well as for sharing communication about user conflicts between Native and non-native hunters and transporters. In this type of forum, ideas and beliefs are hammered out and openly discussed to help ease the growing tension between user groups. It helps dispel fact from fiction, so to speak. Because of this communication opportunity the WG has been a great resource to connect native communities to other users outside their traditional hunting grounds.
    So, the fact that locals take 10' of thousands out of the herd annually utilizing snow machines, outboard motors and modern weapons with "no season" and "no limits" was hammered out openly discussed and the bottom line was...what?

    Continuing the no season no limit modern warfare on the Western Arctic Caribou herd by limiting non local pressure on the herd and that will keep the herd from continuing to decline.

    That is "educating" folks for sure.


    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    . State and federal agencies share their research and mediate group members through important discussions about what is currently being done with management and what might work to improve the stability of the herd. In no way does a state management plan get influenced by what has been gathered from these meetings. The only thing the WG can and has done is collect broad intellectual data and provide input to the BOG and ADFG for management recommendations, which helps guide road development (Ambler and Umiat road projects and the Red Dog Mine access), recommend ways to reduce user conflict, and suggest possible solutions for reducing hunting impacts on a declining herd.
    Did you REALLY just say "..in no way does a state management plan get influenced by what has been gathered from these meetings." ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    . Annual harvest of caribou from the WACH has remained less than 4% for over 20 years, which equates to between 7-9,000 caribou total harvest. Still, the largest majority of harvests are taken by Natives from the communities within GMUs 22, 23, and 26. Sport hunters, both resident and non-resident, account for about less than 1% of the total annual harvests. So, with this working knowledge, in no way has the WG suggested to limit hunting opportunities for sport hunters. The data suggest that with herd declines, bag limits should be one of many areas of concern for the State to consider, along with range quality, weather events, and calf and cow health and mortality. With decreasing numbers on the trend, hunting bag limits should be carefully managed to continue to provide opportunities for local and non-local users.
    Does this 20 year historical data somehow merge the data/accounting relative to the natural cycles of caribou; over millennia, take into account that 10's of thousands of caribou are now being taken annually by locals utilizing utilizing snow machines, outboard motors and modern weapons with locals having "no season" and "no limits" on the numbers of caribou harvested?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    . The only tangible threat to the public access is a continuation of user conflicts, which are more easily dealt with at these WG meetings, where all users come together and discuss ways to reduce such occurrences.
    Bull-ownee.

    How could you forget the NPS's little trick to limit the numbers of hunters that could use an air taxis? How could you forget about the no-fly zones. How could you forget about the NPS creatively "closed" areas to the harvest of caribou by non locals until the "herd" crosses the river? You already said you sat on the WACH; presumably representing non local hunters, during the exact times these TANGIBLE threats were enacted....and based entirely on the WACH groups "non-influence" of management decisions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    . Predation by wolves is the highest threat alert for this herd, with grizzly bears being second. The best thing that can happen to reduce these numbers is for local natives and sport hunters to shoot more wolves and bear within this herd's migration ranges.
    Setting seasons and bag limits aside.....If I was a caribou I'd take my chances with a wolf and a bear any day over a local with an AR15 in a powered boat or on a snow machine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    hope this helps your impression of a Working Group, but it seems to me that your facts are not quite solid enough to change your own mind about the structure of such a resource. It's not a State or Fed agenda, but merely a resource for all user groups to openly communicate about current issues involving the herd and its human users.

    larry
    The main thing you've enlightened me on is that Fairbanks hunters should reconsider their participation/representation of the WG's agenda.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    907
    Posts
    255

    Default

    Bushrat, of course 'groups' have self serving agenda's otherwise they would not be defined as "groups". Entirely normal. And, no wg is usually formed with the intent of making findings that are negative.

    And, as you more or less wrote, we don't need a working group to tell us to stop killing so many caribou; cows, and calves included, when they are declining in numbers.

    But you know and I know locals who don't have seasons, don't have bag limits and are using 21st century tools to harvest caribou are not going to slow down killing caribou. Hey...if we don't kill em when they come by our village the next village will kill em...and that's not a discussion or conversation or 'compromise" the BOG, F&G or the WACH wg is having.

    So I agree with you that WG's; with respect to game management, undermine the states constitutionally established system of managing our game resources for all Alaskans.

    Surely, you agree that wg's (like 40m/WACH) by their make up are far more politically influential at the BOG level than the collective advisory committees?

  7. #7
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default

    For sure the WGs have more political influence with the BOG than individual ACs all commenting on a proposal or a plan. Typically, the WGs are a collection of reps from various ACs, who've ostensibly hammered out something they could all agree on, so it's no surprise they carry more clout with BOG.

    I still stand by my statement that the WGs aren't necessarily a negative. Even though I may not agree with whatever "plan" they come up with. After what happened to the Mulchatna herd, one would think we'd learn the lesson that we shouldn't wait to do something more restrictive when a herd is declining at the rate WACH is declining now. The subsistence harvest imo needs to be cut back. All harvests need to be cut back. Not just taking of cows and calves. Naturally, the WG doesn't want to do that at this time. Time will tell whether or not they waited too long to recommend curtailing all harvests.

    And I would make that argument before the BOG as well, if it were at a meeting where they debate the WG's plan. As you said, and as Dau said in that article, the WG has absolutely no authority whatsoever to institute a "plan," all they can do is make recommendations based on ostensible compromises among various ACs and/or other seats on the group.



  8. #8
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks, Ak.
    Posts
    4,191

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post


    I still stand by my statement that the WGs aren't necessarily a negative.
    [/FONT]
    Allow me to step up and disagree. There is no constitutional, or legislative authority to allow working groups to advise the Dept. and Bog. The Dept pays the costs of the working groups and that is money that should go to the ACs. IMO WGs are illegally replacing the authority of the ACs. A LOT of money is spent on the WACH working group. The meetings are usually in Anch., which allows for very little local participation. (some of you Anch. guys should be attending!!).

    What is the purpose of redicung human take on the Wach when it is such a small percentage of the overall loss. I would be more skeptical of this count then be ready to start changing plans. Wach counts are VERY weather dependent. It doesn't involve formulas..........it involves finding, photographing, and actually counting bou. Lots of room for error and possibilities for missing thousands of animals. Over 20% loss in 2 years? Are we sure one of the guys counting the little specks in the photo's didn't have a couple beers at lunch??
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    907
    Posts
    255

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    For sure the WGs have more political influence with the BOG than individual ACs all commenting on a proposal or a plan. Typically, the WGs are a collection of reps from various ACs, who've ostensibly hammered out something they could all agree on, so it's no surprise they carry more clout with BOG.
    So, by design the wg model are supposed to be a smarter way of managing our resources than the AC/BOG system?

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    I still stand by my statement that the WGs aren't necessarily a negative. Even though I may not agree with whatever "plan" they come up with. After what happened to the Mulchatna herd, one would think we'd learn the lesson that we shouldn't wait to do something more restrictive when a herd is declining at the rate WACH is declining now. The subsistence harvest imo needs to be cut back. All harvests need to be cut back. Not just taking of cows and calves. Naturally, the WG doesn't want to do that at this time. Time will tell whether or not they waited too long to recommend curtailing all harvests.
    What you seem to be saying is that this model WG; since it was formed and began creating ways of restricting non local hunting and continues to advocate their agenda for more non local restrictions as the solution to stoping the decline of the herd while maintaining the no-season/no limit modern warfare on the herd and this example of the wg model justifies your position that wg's are generally a positive thing especially because they are inherently more influential?

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    I would make that argument before the BOG as well, if it were at a meeting where they debate the WG's plan.


    Yes, and because of the nature of working groups you'd have as much influence with the BOG's reasoning (don't go against the political winds) as you will have with the recommendations that will be coming out of the "sheep wg" or than you had with the black bear wg or with the 40 mile wg.

    I stand by my Statement:

    Among the numerous threats to future hunting opportunities for all Alaskans is the Working Group "model".


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •