Alaska Wildlife Refuges Reissuing Guide Permits


Published: May - 2003

If you have a hunt booked on an Alaska wildlife refuge (Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge and Arctic National Widlife Refuge, to cite two examples) any time after December 31, 2003, be aware that your hunt may be in some jeopardy, as the guiding permits for most of the refuges in the state are in the process of being reissued. We are indebted to Master Guide Joe Hendricks for a heads-up on this issue and for the recommendation that we call Tony Booth, refuge program specialist with the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Indeed, Booth said that refuge permits are expiring for 84 of the state's refuge guide use areas.

The threat here may be more apparent than real, as the evaluation process for these permits places a premium on prior experience in the area, and who is more likely to have experience in an area than the guide who has been hunting there for 10 years? Still, there is a chance that some permits will be reassigned, Booth told us, noting that a total of 319 proposals had been received for the 84 available areas. He says that all the proposals have been evaluated at this point and that final selections will be announced in late May or early June. At that time, unsuccessful applicants will have 45 days to appeal the decision.

The bottom line is, it may be wise to delay booking a refuge hunt for 2004 and beyond until about late July. In the meantime, it's probably a good idea to ask your would-be guide to talk about his situation vis a vis the refuge he hunts. Has he recently bought the right to hunt that refuge from another guide? Does he have any game violations on his record? Has he had client complaints? The wrong kind of answer to any of these questions could be a warning flag.

Here at The Hunting Report, we will be following this reissuing matter closely, and we'll file an update as developments warrant. In the meantime, do note that 2003 hunts are not in........(continued)

 
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