Trump Administration Finalizing Rule To Allow Controversial Hunting Procedures In Alaskan Federal Lands

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

I have often criticized the Trump Administration for its environmental policies from blocking climate control measures to rolling back on pollution regulations to developing pristine natural areas.  The most recent change in hunting rules in Alaska however are truly disgusting. The Administration is finalizing rules to allow hunters in Alaska’s national preserves to shoot not just bears and wolves but their cubs and pups in their dens.  The policy change is horrific for many of us who cherish the environment and particularly the Alaskan parks and preserves.

We discussed this rule change that has been denounced by many of us. The rule is about to be finalized.  It would reverse regulations put into place by the the Obama Administration, which barred controversial hunting practices.  The regulations sought to protect the predator population and the balance of the ecosytem. We have discussed terrible losses of historic wolf populations and other predators in Alaska. We recently discussed a case where a father and son killed a hibernating bear and her cubs in Alaska.

Under the rule, hunters will be able to go into national parks in Alaska and engage some of the worst hunting practices like luring bears with donuts, shooting swimming caribou from boats, killing animals from airplanes and snowmobiles, and using lights to flush out mother wolves and their pups from dens.

Such practices have devastated the wolf population and other predators, which environmentalists have long charged is the true purpose to increase the number of game animals for hunters. The killing of these predators throws off the ecosystem and does great harm to our national parks.  Nevertheless, in 2018, then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered fish and wildlife management on federal land “should defer to states” on such hunting practices.


As many of you know, I love Alaska and our national parks (You can search Denali or Alaska to see some of the pictures like this one from past hiking trips).  I have seen the devastation of our park populations and ecosystems to hunting and climate change. It is painful to discuss with rangers who have committed their lives to these incredible places.  This is money not science talking.

Nevertheless, politicians like Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, praised the return of effective control to state authorities while hunting tourism company cheered the move.

One of the greatest moments of my life as a young congressional page was witnessing the key vote that would ultimately established The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), an act doubling the size of the National Park System with 157,000,000 acres of land, including Denali National Park (one of the crown jewels of our system).  It was opposed by the Alaskan delegation even though the move stopped destructive development that has now helped preserve eco-tourism, a major source of income for the state.  I stood and watched Mo Udall push through the legislation and became a lifelong fan (I later went to Arizona to work for Udall when he was targeted by the first political action committee for defeat over his environmental efforts).

I am truly appalled by this action by the Trump Administration and the Alaskan delegation.  The national parks and preserves continue to be a major draw for tourists to the state. There is ample hunting opportunities in the state.  These areas are part of the natural wonders that belong to the nation. It will not just be these predator population who will be devastated by this thoughtless measure but future generations.

46 thoughts on “Trump Administration Finalizing Rule To Allow Controversial Hunting Procedures In Alaskan Federal Lands”

  1. I confess i killed three pheasants in 2019 with a shotgun, it was fun, I ate them, and I want to do it again.

    I have also caught a fish, killed it, and ate it, just in the past month. That was less fun and less tasty, but i want to do that again, too.

    Now let’s hear from “The wildman of Detroit,” the hunter, outdoorsman, NRA advocate and Republican voter, Ted Nugent

    1. When I stalked those pretty little birds, observed them and their patterns, formed a plan, and laid in wait, and then they fell into my trap, and I unleashed the shot on them and slaughtered them, i confess i had enormous thrill and excitement.

      Their little chicken bodies were warm and limp in my hands, trembling from excitement. The smell of the field was in their feathers, peppered with the smell of the lingering oxidized smokeless powder. It was cold outside but my body was hot. How could a simple thing like this, a minute’s excitement, following on hours of walking and stalking, be such a thrill?

      And what a strange thing it is to understand how our food comes from things that have given their lives for us to eat and live, in turn! Our animal instincts are muted, civilized, but can reawaken in a trice.

      Preparing their carcasses is an unpleasant chore, but again, a moment to consider how life comes from death, and good tastes come from bad smells, and how human hands and tools can do so many amazing things. How thoughtlessly we consume meat and never think of its origin!

      Two were stewed, one coq au vin style, one chinese style (they are called “qiezi” in mandarin), and one I made like fried chicken. the fried chicken style was the best. Possibly my best meal of 2019.

      This has nothing to do with Alaska, I have never hunted big game, I leave its conservatoin to the authorities and the merits of either side to those who care more than I. I just wanted to share the thrill and joy of hunting in general with my you my partners in dialogue at this website.

      1. sorry, qiezi is eggplant, yieji is pheasant. sounds alike, sort of. still learning!

        1. Mr Kurtz – we will not longer be able to trust information from you again. 😉

  2. NB, enormous quantities of land are owned by the federal government, far in excess of what’s utile. Time to put most of it on the auction bloc.

    1. 30% of the USA land is federal. They control all of it. Citizens get to pretend they own a bit of land but in truth they have the right to buy the land and then pay a form of continuous rent called property tax and not be able to leave it to their surviving family.

      Condominiums are much the same except it’s buy, then pay a rent, and a property tax.

      Invest in the USA? Sorry ’bout that I’m not rich enough to be a liberal. I became middle class by moving across the border and now visit in order to vote and buy a new visa.

      Not to mention it’s much safer.

  3. There’s no great reason for the federal government to be allocating common property resources except if (1) the resource in question is in coastal waters; (2) the resource consists of draws from inter-state water courses; (3) the resource is on federally owned land; or (4) the resource is a migratory species with an interstate or international range or (5) the resource is some odd and rare species to which people have an affective attachment or which performs irreplaceable environmental services.

    Do any of these apply? If not, the allocation function belongs to the repository of general police power. That’s the State of Alaska.

  4. As I understand it, the change merely returns control of hunting to the state of Alaska rather than the Federal government. I don’t have a problem with that. Let the people of Alaska determine what the laws should be. Jon, you remind me of an “environmentalist” I once met in a hotel in New Jersey. He was dressed in outdoor garb (in Secaucus, NJ) and told me and other pilots, all of who lived in Northeastern Kentucky and most of whom grew up in the country, that he had been born and raised in New York City and lived there then. His idea of nature was strictly from an urban standpoint, as it yours. I grew up in rural West Tennessee and hunted and fished when I wasn’t hoeing or picking cotton or sitting by the fire reading or making model airplanes. I have lived in rural and suburban areas all my life except for my military days. Like you, I was an avid hiker and backpacker – but I never joined the Sierra Club because of their politics. Most of this country is beautiful, except for the urban scars like the cities of Chicago and Houston. And, contrary to popular belief, hunters are not rabid killers. Hunters and fishermen are the original conservationists, not Chicago lawyers.

    1. Grew up in Northern Minnesota got run out by the City Folks. Finished growing up in Oregon got run out by the Californios. Tried Florida and turns out they are fighting back which makes the retirees who move south on the East Coast far more intelligent than the one’s who move north and east on the West Coast. And then tried Arizona same disease too many Californios but now I’m pushing for the wall to be finished to help protect my new neighbors here on the South Side. I only visit if there is no border stoppage due to the Chinese because it’s more affordable,especially medical, and far far far safer if you stay out of areas part time Californios frequent. But I haven’t abandoned the idea of being an American and a Constitutionalist. thanks to recent changes I’m once again middle class with freedom to choose.

      What put Florida back on my list? The retirees there realized which party was ripping them off with attempts at higher taxes and more taxes and were the one’s who devalued the worth of their retirement funds. Something many Texans also have learned. ,

  5. Sorry, but given all that is going on in the country, this seems hard to get worked up over. I don’t believe Trump gets involved in this level of decision making. I appreciate that Trump is responsible for everything the federal government does, but he doesn’t seem like a details kind of person and I bet this was presented to him as an Obama overreach on states rights that he is reversing, since he seems determined to try to reverse every last thing done by Obama. Seems like a favor to the Alaskan delegation, but not clear why Trump would do Murkowski any favors.

    1. Trump reverses anything Obama has done, look what he did on the pandemic rules. Hell that seemed to work out.

      1. Here i can finally agree. Not the way you might have intended it.

        I think Trump should have kept in place the Obama wise ban on “gain of function” research.

        Why? Because the Wuhan virus was probably cooked up in a lab. Before I thought maybe, probably not, but now there’s new research on the sars cov 2 genome. Oh, it’s not good news. This is a frankenstein bug, as some suspected.

        This might have not stopped the Wuhan bug, which developed outside the US in China. But, yes there is evidence supporting the suspicion that the Wuhan bug was indeed, the result of “gain of function” epidemiological research, the likes of which had been banned in the US by Obama, as too dangerous. So the ban by Obama loooks very wise in retrospect, and no idea why Trump’s flunkies at NIH or wherever lifted the ban in 2017.

        Because it is too dangerous, and it ought to be illegal, here and in the PRC.

        Let me ask, did Fauci have anythign to do with that? I can’t find any evidence that he did or did not. But why can’t Fauci come forward and call for a ban to resume?

        Maybe because Fauci is friends with the small circles of virologists who get fat money grants to do this kind of dangerous epidemiological research, including the “bat lady” scientists that was running the dubious experiments at the Wuhan bsl 4 lab.

        Let’s dig into this as time goes and and find out why we have had so much conflicting and questionable “science” bandied about this thing

        Today I am still perplexed as to why suddenly they’re saying asymptomatic spread is not happening. Did all the evidence that it was just evaporate, or was it bogus or flawed?

        We saw in the past week how hcq was “debunked” and then oops, suddenly Lancet pulled the debunking and apologized for “data problems.” Gee, how this has all become clear as mud!

      2. Sorry. What pandemic rules did Obama put in place that Trump reversed?

    1. Ya want to bet, that the Trump boys have friends in the hunting junket industry. Well heeled friends.

  6. Trump supporters could care less that Trump used the C-19 virus to get rid of rules and regulations on clean water and air standards. Trump supporters could care less that he used unmarked police and military so he could do a photo-op. And they are sure to pack indoor venues to see the dear leader during a pandemic. They could care less that Trump lies everyday, if not by the hour. But now they are miffed, it looks like they don’t like the idea of the Trump boys having stuffed bear cubs and wolf pups in their trophy room. Well Trump supporters…..Get Over It. And Fu*k your feelings. They will do whatever they want.

  7. President Trump has taken the position that he said he would during his campain: let states have more control over their own land.

    Whether it’s the designation of land or making hunting rules, a limited government leaves it up to the people who actually live there to decide. Otherwise, 49 states could conceivably designate the entire, beautiful state of Alaska as a federal park.

    Personally, I hate this hunting practice. I would never condone it in a 1,000 years. If we don’t like it, we have to convince the Alaskans to abandon this policy. Most of us do not live with wolves or bears. Down here in the lower 48, people routinely use poison that kill families of rodents, including pups. They are viewed as vermin. Granted, the Nordic rat is an invasive. Some people in Alaska view wolves as their enemy. Most of us buy our meat at the grocery store or coop, rather than hunt caribou, elk, moose, deer, or even black bear. Some Alaskans view the animals as either a resource, or a threat to that resource. Removing too many wolves needs to be viewed as a threat to the riparian habitat of Alaska, as a lack of predation changes browning habits.

    It might come as a surprise that hunting cubs has been done by Native Americans in Alaska, and the practice evolved to use modern technology.

    I believe that states should have more autonomy over their own land. I just really disagree with the Alaskans’ decision on this one. The answer would be trying to change their mind.

    There is one other aspect that I think is part of modern governance. Photosynthetic biomass are the lungs of our planet. If we ever lose most of our planet’s forests, it would lower the oxygen, and increase the carbon, that we all breathe. At some point, there do need to be protections on the oxygen factories of our planet. That also extends to the marine phytoplankton that generate so much oxygen. Polluting our oceans is madness.

    I would also add that chronic wasting disease is spreading in deer populations. It’s like Mad Cow Disease, only instead of being spread by cannibal feeding practices, the prions infect pasatures…for years. If it spreads past a certain point, a massive cull has been discussed. That would require the killing of deer of all ages, down to fawns, on contaminated land, and then preventing deer from recolonizing the area for years. I do not know why CWD is not more prominent in the news. Perhaps because so few people hunt deer for food nowadays. If CWD jumps to bovines, the deer are toast. This would make the quarrels over bison with TB being too close to cattle herds look like nothing.

    Anyone who wants to learn more about the perspective of Alaskans should read this:

    1. “This feud stems from a 1980 law, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, that set aside millions of acres of federally owned lands to let Alaskans maintain their frontier lifestyle and economy. The arrangement — allowing both sport and subsistence hunting on federal “preserves” — is unique to Alaska. And it is the source of constant friction, because the two partners have different missions. The National Park Service is charged with protecting wildlife populations — including that of predators like bears and wolves — in “an unaltered natural ecosystem.” Alaska’s Board of Game, meanwhile, is charged with assuring large populations of huntable prey like caribou and moose.

      That unsteady alliance reached a turning point in 2015, after the state eased some rules, allowing hunters’ to use lights in bear dens, bait grizzlies with human food and hunt wolves in the spring and summer, when they are raising their young. The park service responded by prohibiting those methods and adding prohibitions on other techniques, such as hunting caribou by boat, which the state allowed in small areas.

      “Allowing the killing of bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens is barbaric and inhumane.””

      Alaska sued the park service for being in violation of this 1980 agreement.

      I think the problem boils down to the fact the federal government forced these restrictions on Alaskans against their will. The feds didn’t bother to get their buy in. Anything forced on a state that its people oppose will keep getting challenged.

      If you want change, convince the Alaskans. Treat them like their opinion matters. Don’t shove it down the throats of the most independent, self reliant people living in this Union. Treat them with respect and change their minds.

  8. The (former?) Trumpers finally find his actions too disgusting to accept. Previously, not even his calling out the military to violently sweep aside peaceful protesters in D.C. could get the MAGA folks to wince. For them bears deserve more protection than human beings.

  9. And I just learned that we, American tax payers, are on the hook for $75,000 (or more) for the ‘privilege’ afforded Trump Jr. to kill a rare sheep in Mongolia whose president, retroactively, gave Trump Jr. a license to kill that sheep. Of course, it’s expensive because the Secret Service has to protect the son of Trump should said sheep attack him?
    Callous decision.

  10. I’m disgusted by this. Such a stupid move especially at such a critical time.

  11. Trump, I am a Republican woman that voted for you and supports you, but what the Hell is wrong with you if you think killing these creatures is a good idea?

    1. I support Trump on many things, but at times he’s just another NYC tone deaf Idiot!.

      What a fool. Someone in his inner circle should have stood up & just backhanded his face & said what the Phk do you think you’re doing Fool…. You know, like a Mr T

  12. Agreed, Professor. Another disgusting step up in Trump dereg policy.

  13. This goes back to our framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Revolutionists had collaborated with some bears and used them in the war against the Redcoats.
    The original phrase in the Second Amendment was “The Right To Arm Bears..”
    Printers altered and reversed the words so as to appease some bear hunters who then worked for the newly freed press.
    I think some armed bears were in the protests outside the White House and that is why Trump was afraid and called in the troops.

    Vote Trump out. Praise our bears and their Cubs. If you know one of these vicious hunters chastise them.

    My name is Liberty Second because I stand up for the right of bears and of humans who need bears as allies. “Second” refers to the Second Amendment as originally framed.

    1. Liberty2nd – you saw that documentary about the guy who got too friendly with the bears? Didn’t end well.

    2. Hell if Trump is such a Nut case he want’s to shoot Cubs he could already go to Chicago as it’s a Free Fire zone with plenty of targets & no one will say a damn thing about the on going disgrace there to the USA, that there’s a lack of guns their among the law abbidding people there to return fire.

      1. You want to make the Old media go away, just mention Black & Black Crime like Chicago. LOL;) …. no white guy shooter shooting a black, no story….

        Here’s the latest tally stick:

  14. I was a long time hunter and fisher and professional hunter. I don’t have a problem with hunting bear.The killing of bear cubs and bears in their dens is about as low as one can go. That is not hunting! I don’t have problem with hunting wolves, I do have a problem with killing the pups and killing while inside the den. I am fortunate enough to have seen a timber wolf where they are not supposed to exist, northern New Mexico mountains. Hey, they are big. I do not understand why Alaska Game & Fish would allow this. I worked closely with New Mexico G&F in a law enforcement capacity and they would never allow rules like this.

    Like all the despotic orange fascist does, this is just another one of his slap in the face of the American sportsman for what?. Can you say money, money, money, it’s all about the money.

  15. “The Administration is finalizing rules to allow hunters in Alaska’s national preserves to shoot not just bears and wolves but their cubs and pups in their dens.”

    I don’t know anything about the merits of allowing hunters to harvest more bears but I do know that as awful as it sounds, if a person kills a mama bear, the humane thing to do is kill the cubs as well because they will not survive in the wild and either will starve to death or be eaten by other predators. To me the question is one of numbers. If there are too many, allow harvesting; if there are too few, prohibit it. If there is a balance, keep doing what you are doing.

  16. Mo Udall deserved to be defeated. Remember JT, you are visiting OUR parks to hike in. All that “precious” land in Denali is carved out of the State of Alaska.

  17. Sadly this is just another typical move by Trump to set in motion the opposite of what would be sensible and prudent policy to cater to a political interest group. I’m sure Don Jr has his hands in this one. Check moving troops out of Germany as Russia moves troops closer.

    1. What does redeploying troops have to do with culling the herd in Alaska. JT could have given statistics on black bear population in Alaska. Are bears endangered or overpopulated?

      1. Like Martha says, euphemistically, another unwise move. More precise terminology is another snap, uneducated, ill informed move from the blithering idiot, Trump. It’s a pattern. When it walks like a blithering idiot, talks like a blithering idiot, then perhaps……

    2. Do you realized weeding out some of the these including pups and cubs cuts back on disease in certain genetic breeds???? If this is not trimmed down , disease will lead to extinction. This is part of the change. Look it up !!!

    3. Lord I pray, please help Martha find a new news source as I can tell she’s so lost..

      Yep Martha, best look under you’re bed, those damned Russkies are prolly already there.

Comments are closed.