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Thread: Alaska's Hunting Regs

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    Default Alaska's Hunting Regs

    I moved to Alaska in 2001, and I didn't take up hunting until the spring of 2006. Don't get me wrong; I REALLY wanted to go hunting, but I was overwhelmed by Alaska's game laws and fearful of instances such as recent illegal moose antler. I didn't want my hunting experiences marred by an unintentional run-in with law enforcement.

    Since the spring of 2006, I have shot a black bear, brown bear, and a caribou. On each hunt, I was hunting with someone with far more Alaskan hunting experience than myself, and even though I had personally read and re-read the hunting regulations several times before taking the field, I was STILL nervous that I might be inadvertently doing something wrong. The little voice in the back of my head nagging, "Did you read ALL the small print? Better read that again."

    I hope someday my regulation-anxiety subsides, and I am more able to FULLY enjoy all the great hunting this state has to offer.


    For those of you not born in Alaska, how long did it take before you were completely comfortable with the game laws? Are you still a little nervous when you take to the field?

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    One more thing....

    I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the violators and poachers, for which many of these reactionary laws were written to ensnare. Without your untiring efforts and unscrupulous actions, the rest of us law-abiding hunters might not be able to go about our business without continually looking over our shoulder. Thanks.

  3. #3

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    hey there dan, here's an idea for you. before you go hunting study the regs for the area your going to, then you dont have to look over your shoulder cause your not doing anything wrong! *edited*
    Last edited by Brian M; 11-01-2007 at 11:31. Reason: personal attack

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    Yes, Alaskan hunting/fishing regs can be intimidating and complex, just study the regs (as you've been doing) for your target area. If you have questions concerning the regs call or go to the ADF&G hunt/fish information office, they will answer your questions and give you some clarity in your area's of concern or point you to someone who can. An Alaska Atlas is also very helpfull, Delhome(spl) puts out a good one.

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    Default A little harsh?

    Dan, I hear what you are saying but you can rest comfortably if you just study the regs for the area you wish to hunt like weasel started off saying.

    Most are rather simple if you take the time to do your home work. You also can't compare them to the lower 48 as some of the hunting areas are larger than those states and defintiely less inhabited.

    Many reasons for good regulations and normally boards/panels make the recommendations to become law and not an individual or single incident. Will agree that not all of them are for the best but they exist so we have no choice but follow them which is what you agree to do when you purchase (at least I hope) your hunting license.

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Valid concern...but don't let it spoil your hunting. I always take a copy of the regs with me hunting in case there is a last minute doubt, a new question, ... or I run out of TP!

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goody View Post
    Will agree that not all of them are for the best but they exist so we have no choice but follow them which is what you agree to do when you purchase (at least I hope) your hunting license.
    Absolutely! I've got no problems obeying the law. None. Obeying the law and developing confidence that I'm doing the right thing is exactly what I'm doing.

    However, the guys involved with the moose antler incident (details) also thought they were doing the right thing. Heck, the judge even said this situation sucked and needed to be changed. This is the kind of thing I worry about. Unintentionally breaking the law.

    Admittedly, maybe I do worry too much. If I'm not 100% sure of myself, I don't pull the trigger. I have passed up several legal shots and went home empty-handed because I had doubts (20A anterless moose, for example. I wasn't 100% sure I was out of the archery-only area. I passed up the shot, and later rechecked the boundaries. I was legal to use a rifle.).

    This particular "broken antler" law sounds like it was the direct result of a few unscrupulous individuals modifying illegal moose antlers to make them legal. So, my earlier rant about "violators and poachers" was directed at these sorts of reactionary laws, and the shady behavior that led to them. Sorry if it sounded harsh.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default Reactionary law

    I was involved in discussion with law enforcement, F&G, and the board of game regarding the law. I wouldn't class it as "reactionary". The way it reads, the broken or altered antler cannot be used to determine if the moose is legal. If the other side is legal, i.e. spike fork or three brow tines, the moose is fine. There was currently nothing on the books to prevent a person from shooting a 3x4, for instance, breaking or shooting off the 3rd point, and calling it a legal fork. My understanding was that this becoming pretty common practice in some units in Southeast. Yes, the law was created as a reaction to clearly bad behavior, but I sure wouldn't call it "reactionary" which implies little thought or discussion went into its creation. Shoot, I saw a moose once with super long dagger brow tines, one on each side, and the thought flitted through my head to drop him, shoot off the paddle, and I'd have a legal fork horn bull! And by golly, at the time, had I done that, I would have been legal unless the state could actually prove that I was the one who had shot the antler off the bull. (he was about 45") Apparently some "hunters" carried that same thought out into action, and nothing could be done to them. The case in SE was an unintended consequence of the new law; it happens often when new laws get enacted.. I'll work on a proposal to tweak it a little, to make it more clear to the troopers, hunters and courts, and I'm sure F&G and the troopers will, as well.

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    I'm with you Dan. I've been stationed in quite a few different states; Alaska's regulations are pretty darn confusing. I find the boundaries the hardest to keep a grasp on. You have the big GMU and its subunits, like 20 then down to 20B. On top of that, there's things like control use areas, management areas, and prohibited areas. Then if you're baiting for bear, you must be at least one mile from a residence. Keep in mind too that some rules vary based on where you live.

    Don't get me wrong, I love it here. Heck I asked to come here, but for me there is no such a thing as a "quick reference" to the hunting regulations. I have to get all my maps and reg's, and spread them across the kitchen table. Even then, I usually have my buddy double check my plan. BTW, this is my second year to hunt and fish here... headaches have weakened from year one to year two.

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    I sure wouldn't call it "reactionary" which implies little thought or discussion went into its creation.
    By using the word "reactionary", I never meant to imply that the law was rash or not very well thought out. I simply meant that the law appeared to be a direct response to the actions of a few people that exploited a loop hole. Sorry about the confusion, and I am glad there was an effort made to stop the antler-altering behaviors.



    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    I'll work on a proposal to tweak it a little, to make it more clear to the troopers, hunters and courts, and I'm sure F&G and the troopers will, as well.
    I am sure that many of us here appreciate for your efforts. I certainly do.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    ... Shoot, I saw a moose once with super long dagger brow tines, one on each side, and the thought flitted through my head to drop him, shoot off the paddle, and I'd have a legal fork horn bull! And by golly, at the time, had I done that, I would have been legal unless the state could actually prove that I was the one who had shot the antler off the bull. (he was about 45") Apparently some "hunters" carried that same thought out into action, and nothing could be done to them...
    This is where I would have to argue the point. Most of us wouldn't even have thought of doing this. Most of us will follow the intent of the law without trying to find these little loopholes to circumvent it. If people would just act ethically and with a little common sense, we wouldn't be dealing with this excess of regulation.
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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default hackles?

    Not sure why you'd have to argue the point, Joat. No reason to get your hackles up! I was just stating a scenario I was in where it would have been very easy to do something shady, with no consequences from the law! I think most if not all hunters would agree that if I had pulled the trigger on that moose, then shot off the offending palm to make him "legal", I should be found guilty of poaching a moose then evidence tampering, and had my butt nailed to the wall, but written law didn't cover that scenario at all. Don't hang me just because the temptation reared its head! Sheeshh, all I did was THINK about it! Surely other hunters have had thoughts 'bout pulling the trigger on an animal thats not legal for whatever reason, then decided not to... I sure hope we never reach the point when just thinking about whether or not to do something shady gets us put into the pokey! To me, that is what makes one an ethical hunter- passing up that shot, whether you'll get caught or not- just deciding not to do it because its wrong.

    Unfortunately, there are people out there who will use any little loophole to circumvent a regulation's intent, then the lawmakers have to come together and close the loophole; I too wish it were a utopian society where those folk didn't exist, but its not, so lots of laws and laws about laws end up getting written, then more laws to clarify the other laws.... yada yada!

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    Default Relax

    I haven't raised my "hackles" at all. Don't take my post personally; it is more of a generalized comment to the masses. I think you missed the subtle point, which wasn't so much directed at your specific scenario, but toward hunting attitudes in general. It wasn't about having thoughts of breaking the law if you don't intend to actually do it. We have all these overbearing regulations only because a few people will find ways to beat the system. My point is that most people follow the rules without question. We might say that a particular rule seems stupid, but when out in the field we don't even consider breaking the rules. Therefore, I feel it is an incorrect claim that people "think" about breaking the rules. I believe that most people do not spend any time thinking about breaking the hunting rules.

    I have known a couple guys who will try to work out ways to get around game laws. But the same guy wouldn't consider shoplifting, vandalizing, assaulting someone, or any number of other minor infractions. So why is it that these otherwise law-abiding folks will consider breaking the law with regard to hunting (or fishing)? I never witnessed them actually break any law, but they will talk about ways to beat the system and have a plan in place. I do not understand the reasoning behind this.

    Since you brought it up, let's use your example of shooting off a palm to make the bull legal when there wasn't a specific regulation that stated "you may not modify the antler to make the moose appear legal". I contend that just because the government didn't write it down doesn't mean it would be an ethical decision. It gets down to that internal decision making process between right and wrong. I think most of us would agree, even if there was no specific regulation, that modifying the antlers of an otherwise illegal bull would be wrong. Do the majority of hunters need to have a written rule in place to know that this is the case? I would hope not. The fact that our society has degraded to this level of regulation is what I find disheartening.

    I was raised by one of the most honest and ethical people I've ever known and was taught absolute ethics in regard to hunting. When I'm in the field, the thought of how to get around any game law doesn't even enter my mind. The rules are clearly spelled out and should be followed. Therefore, I personally do not comprehend why folks would try to figure out ways to get around the law, but that's just me. I guess I'm being too simple and letting my traditional conservative values show through.

    As for the way that these regulations are written, perhaps they need to do some outside reviewing before putting regulations in place. When you get a small room of people all thinking the same thing, they tend to get tunnel vision and stop thinking outside the box. A portion of my job includes writing policies and procedures. After writing a policy, I next review it directly with another person in a position of leadership over the subject. After we both agree, I will select a sampling of the workers who this policy will affect and have them read it and give me a gut reaction to anything about the way it is written. I will specifically ask if they can think of any way to get around the rule. I often get reactions or ideas back that will allow me to edit the wording to make it clearer as to the intent. If they did the same thing with game rules, I doubt we would have as many problems as seem to crop up.

    As always, my opinions only. Please don't take any of it personally as we are simply sharing ideas and points of view in these forums for all to consider. When one makes a point you need to be prepared to take a counterpoint.
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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    I can manage the AK Regs, I've been reading them for years. I am having difficulty with WA's regs though. Thinking about doing a deer/elk hunt in E. WA (with my cousin). There are so many seasons-modern firearm, bow, etc...It is intimidating. The season there is short too, 9-10 days each for deer and elk and they DON'T overlap. Anyway, I can sympathize with you, regs are confusing.

    When I hunt here, I'll tear out the section of the regs for the unit I'm hunting and laminate it and bring it along. I've only done this on hunts in areas that were new to me.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by weasel View Post
    hey there dan, here's an idea for you. before you go hunting study the regs for the area your going to, then you dont have to look over your shoulder cause your not doing anything wrong! *edited*
    Also, I like the page near the front of the book that list all the changes and new laws for the current year.

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    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    I can manage the AK Regs, I've been reading them for years. I am having difficulty with WA's regs though.....
    Just out of curiosity, I looked over the California Mammal Hunting Regs. There were 49 pages.

    The Alaska Hunting Regs consume 112 pages.

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    Dan,

    I must say that some of the advise you've gotten up above there has been pretty rotten. Calling ADF&G whenever you have a question was a notable exception, though. They're certainly helpful, and I still call them once in a while. If you're still nervous after talking with them, you can call the wildlife protection officers (state troopers) in the area where you'll be hunting because they're the ones who interpret the regs and issue citations. Their interpretation isn't always the same as the folks sitting behind the help desk at ADF&G. The definition of full curl a few years ago is a good example.

    That "fear" that you're experiencing is probably telling you to keep studying the regs and to look deeper because confidence only comes with time and experience. If you only read the regs that apply to the area you'll be hunting, you'll open yourself up to a world of hurt. You must understand the terminology that is used, and ADF&G has listed specific definitions for the terms they use. Their descriptions of what constitutes brow tines, full curl, evidence of sex, etc. can only be found in the front of the book. Sometimes you have to leave evidence of sex attached to the meat, sometimes to the hide, and sometimes you don't need it at all. For these circumstances and more, the front of the book is every bit as important as the back of the book!

    I'm not trying to spook anyone into not hunting, but I'm not patting anyone on the back and saying, "there, there" either. Trust your conscience; read thoroughly, and review the species specific requirements, general restrictions, methods and means, unit-specific regs, etc. Doing so will give you confidence, but failing to do so will cause you to make errors and give poor advise.

    Rick

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Our regs ain't that bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Just out of curiosity, I looked over the California Mammal Hunting Regs. There were 49 pages.
    The Alaska Hunting Regs consume 112 pages.
    I glanced over those Kali regs and they look very hard to read with the double column all text layout that looks like you're reading state statutes in lawyer-speak.

    In fairness to the Alaska regs, it is broken up into sections by GMU, so you only have to read the first part of the book on general provisions then go read the specifics to your GMU. I just counted this up. If you were hunting every flavor of big game and in the GMU with the most pages (4 pages), you would only have to deal with 39 pages. And they all have lots of pictures, so the word count is much lower also. Most GMU sections are only 2 pages and one of them is a full page map. If you're not hunting bear, sheep, woolly mammoth and other large game, you can shave another half dozen pages off the list. Plus the Alaska regs book covers all game, not just mammals. I personally find the Alaska regs very simple to read and understand.
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  19. #19
    Mark
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    Those are good points. The Alaska reg layout is easier to navigate (that doesn't make violators look very intelligent.........)

    Alaska has 26 GMUs, California has Deer Zone Maps.

    The other California game reg book covers waterfowl and upland fowl, and consumes 72 pages.

  20. #20

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    I must agree the Alaska regs can be intimidating, but once you get through them, they make more sense than other States' regulations. I for one, got stymied when trying to read the NM state regulations for Elk. Wow, tallk about some internet confusion. However, once I got through them, they made more sense. I think with regulations, the confusion is a result of the format, not the content.

    I think the biggest problem I have with the Alaska Regulations is the lack of natural boundaries for GMU's and Management areas. Some times, it is very simple, like a highway, or water body. Often though, it is a line from pt A to pt B. This is where I have the most problem with regulations.

    Another aspect of regulations, especially for new hunters, is they don't think about the possibilities of a regulation. Many of us, having hunted (legally I hope) for years, understand there are alot of questions that have to be answered when hunting a new area. For example, how far from the road, trail, facility, or can I use a radio. These types of questions are often missed by new hunters, and that is where confusion with regulations becomes a very real probability of violating the regulations.

    It is easy to see how these regulations can so intimidate someone, that they are unwilling to bear the burden, in addition to the burden of trying to find an area to hunt, in an unfamilar State, for unfamilar or rare species in the lower 48. I sympathize with you Dan.

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