Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/26/1997 03:40 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                 HB  26 BIG GAME TAGS FOR WOLVES                               
CHAIRMAN HALFORD announced HB 26 to be up for consideration.                   
MR. DAVID STANCLIFF, Staff to Representative Ogan, sponsor, said HB
26 was introduced to find a point at which ADF&G can raise revenues            
from the sale of wolf tags.  Presently there are over 10,000 non-              
residents who hunt in the State and only 3% are purchasing tags and            
the feeling was that the tag price was a bit high considering how              
difficult it is to find a wolf.  The bill also provides that in                
areas requiring intensive management no tags would be required.                
SENATOR LINCOLN asked if the wolf was considered a big game animal.            
MR. STANCLIFF replied yes.  She asked if this bill only referred to            
shooting, not trapping.  MR. STANCLIFF replied yes.  SENATOR                   
LINCOLN asked if a person comes to Alaska to shoot a wolf, are they            
required to have a guide.  MR. STANCLIFF explained that in most                
cases a non-resident will have a guide if they are hunting sheep or            
bear.  It is possible in some areas of the State to hunt caribou               
and moose without a guide, but in no case is it possible to take a             
wolf without proper sealing.  They do not need a guide specifically            
for a wolf.                                                                    
SENATOR LINCOLN asked how a non-resident, unfamiliar with the land,            
would hunt for these wolves unguided.  MR. STANCLIFF answered that             
it is presumed that most wolf tags are purchased incidentally to               
other big game tags.  So it is hard to determine how many people               
come to the State specifically for a wolf.                                     
SENATOR LINCOLN said she knows cases where dogs have been shot                 
because someone thought it was a wolf.  She asked if they are just             
trying to raise more revenue with this bill.  CHAIRMAN HALFORD said            
he was unsure what she was asking and added that existing law is               
not changed in this bill.  Existing law only requires a guide for              
a non-resident for sheep and bear.  He thought reducing the tag fee            
might encourage the incidental take by both residents and non-                 
residents, guided or not.                                                      
MR. KEN TAYLOR, Deputy Director, Wildlife Conservation, said they              
view this as a revenue neutral bill and said they are not in the               
business of raising money for the department.  They are in the                 
business of providing as much opportunity as possible to the                   
public.  The wolf population in Alaska is 7,000 - 10,000 and our               
annual harvest is roughly 1,000 - 1,200 depending on the snow                  
conditions in winter.  The population is capable of sustaining a               
higher harvest than that and they thought increased opportunity                
could be addressed.  He said that the price the legislature put on             
the tags a few years ago was prohibitive for many hunters who came             
up and lowering tag fees for this species wouldn't generate                    
additional revenue, but would provide additional opportunity.                  
MR. TAYLOR explained the way they view this working is that non-               
resident hunters who do come up to hunt moose or caribou are                   
interested in hunting wolves while hunting the other species.  He              
said the department supported the bill as written.                             
SENATOR TAYLOR moved to pass HB 26 with individual recommendations.            
There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                

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