Designated Hunting Rules Change This Fall

Copper Valley Federal Subsistence Hunters Receive Confusing Email About Designated Hunters... And This Fall's  Community Harvest System ...

Copper Valley Federal Subsistence Hunters Receive Confusing Email About Designated Hunters... And This Fall's  Community Harvest System

Friday August 20th: 

Federal Subsistence Hunters in the Copper Valley were sent an email warning them that if they lived in certain communities they could not participate in the designated system. 

The full notice appears below. But here is a summary of what the notice seems to say...

Residents of the following communities may not designate someone else to harvest moose or caribou on their behalf under Federal subsistence regulations using Federal Designated Hunter permits regardless of whether they choose to participate in the CHS or not: 
  • Cantwell 
  • Chistochina 
  • Chitina 
  • Copper Center (excluding Silver Springs, Willow Creek/Lake, and the Ag Subdivision at Mile 94) 
  • Gakona 
  • Gulkana 
  • Mentasta Lake 
  • Tazlina (including Copperville) 
Note that communities are defined using the Census Designated Place (CDP) boundaries from the 2020 U.S. Census. The notice below has links to the census maps so you can see whether you reside in one of the affected communities.  

Additionally, Copper Basin and Cantwell hunters with a Federal Designated Hunter permit cannot serve as Federal designated hunters for residents of the communities listed above. They may serve as Federal designated hunters for residents of other rural communities, subject to eligibility regulations, such as customary and traditional use determinations. 

Here is a copy of a chart that is in the notice:

The full text of the notice sent out on Friday, August 20th, 2021 follows:

Important Notice to Federal Subsistence Hunters in the Copper Basin and Cantwell Regarding Federal Designated Hunter Regulations: 

 
If you are a Federally qualified subsistence user planning to use a designated hunter to hunt moose or caribou in units 11, 12 or 13 and live in Cantwell, Chistochina, Chitina, Copper Center, Gakona, Gulkana, Mentasta Lake, Tazlina (including Copperville), please read on to understand regulations that may impact you.  
 
For the 2021-22 Federal subsistence hunting season, a regulatory change has occurred affecting the use of designated hunters by residents of certain communities in the Copper Basin and Cantwell that are now participating in a Community Harvest System (CHS). This change affects who can designate another Federally qualified subsistence user to harvest moose or caribou on their behalf. It is also important for people who might serve as designated hunters for residents of these communities to be aware of this change. 


Residents of the following communities may not designate someone else to harvest moose or caribou on their behalf under Federal subsistence regulations using Federal Designated Hunter permits regardless of whether they choose to participate in the CHS or not: 

  • Cantwell 
  • Chistochina 
  • Chitina 
  • Copper Center (excluding Silver Springs, Willow Creek/Lake, and the Ag Subdivision at Mile 94) 
  • Gakona 
  • Gulkana 
  • Mentasta Lake 
  • Tazlina (including Copperville) 

Note that communities are defined using the Census Designated Place (CDP) boundaries from the 2020 U.S. Census.  

 
Additionally, Copper Basin and Cantwell hunters with a Federal Designated Hunter permit cannot serve as Federal designated hunters for residents of the communities listed above. They may serve as Federal designated hunters for residents of other rural communities, subject to eligibility regulations, such as customary and traditional use determinations. 
 
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions below for additional information. 
 
Frequently Asked Questions: 
 
Where did this restriction come from? 
Effective the 2021-22 hunting season, the Federal Subsistence Board authorized a Community Harvest System (CHS) for moose and caribou in Units 11, 12, and 13 that residents of Cantwell, Chistochina, Chitina, Copper Center, Gakona, Gulkana, Mentasta Lake, and Tazlina may elect to participate in as an alternative to the typical Federal subsistence registration permits. An existing federal regulation (50 CFR 100.25(e)) prohibits the use of designated hunters by members of communities with CHSs. 
 

What does the regulation say?
In short, regulation 50 CFR 100.25(e) reads, “If you are a Federally qualified subsistence user (recipient), you may designate another Federally qualified subsistence user to take... moose and caribou... on your behalf unless you are a member of a community operating under a community harvest system…" 

Is this a permanent restriction on the use of Federal designated hunters by residents of these communities? 

Not necessarily. A permanent regulatory solution has been proposed to the Federal Subsistence Board (Proposal WP22-02 https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/wildlife-proposal-book-2022-2024-web.pdf) and will be addressed at its April 2022 wildlife regulatory meeting. This proposal would remove the restriction on the use of designated hunters by members of communities with community harvest systems. If you wish to comment on the proposal, consider participating in a meeting of a Regional Advisory Council (RAC) or a National Park Subsistence Resource Commission (SRC) this fall.  

 

How do I know if this applies to me? THESE ARE THE MAPS
 
See the Alaska Department of Labor website (https://live.laborstats.alaska.gov/cen/maps.cfm) for 2020 CDP maps if you are not able to access the webpages above or contact one of the agency points of contact listed at the end of this document. 

 

Which wildlife harvest opportunities are affected? 
Any Federal wildlife harvest opportunity for which designated hunters are allowed and a Federally qualified subsistence user from one of the communities listed above is eligible, however the primary harvest opportunities impacted are moose in Units 11, 12, and 13 and caribou in Units 12 and 13. 
 
Does this restriction include harvests under Federal regulations using the joint State Federal moose permit for portions of Units 11 and 12 (RM291)? 
Yes. 
 
I live in one of the affected communities and depend on the assistance of a designated hunter to obtain meat to feed my family. What can I do? 
Residents of the communities listed above who need someone else to hunt on their behalf may participate in the Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission (AITRC)-administered CHS. Both the recipient of the meat and the person hunting on their behalf must live in one of the listed communities and both must sign up for the CHS. Contact AITRC at 907-822-4466 or see https://www.ahtnatribal.org/harvest for information on how to register for the CHS. The only criteria for determining eligibility to register in the community harvest system are Federal qualification and the location of the applicant’s primary permanent residence. Note that before registering for the CHS, hunters must turn in any Federal subsistence registration permits issued for moose and/or caribou in Units 11, 12, or 13 for the 2021-22 regulatory year. 
 
If I participate in the CHS for moose and do not intend to participate in the CHS for caribou, can I retain my Federal caribou permits? And conversely, if I participate in the CHS for caribou, but not for moose, can I retain my Federal moose permits?   
Yes. 
 
If I participate in the CHS for either caribou or moose, or both species, can I still also possess a Federal Designated Hunter permit and hunt for people living outside of a community with a CHS? 
Yes, subject to eligibility requirements as described in Federal subsistence regulations. See next question for more details.  
 
I am a resident of one of the listed communities. Can I serve as a Federal Designated Hunter for another qualified rural resident? 
Residents of the listed communities may serve as designated hunters using a Federal Designated Hunter permit for a Federally qualified subsistence user who lives in a community that is not operating under the CHS, provided that they meet the eligibility requirements for particular harvest opportunity (e.g., customary and traditional use determination). 
 

 

Summary Table: Who can do what? 

WHAT: 

WHO: Residents of Cantwell, Chistochina, Chitina, Copper Center, Gakona, Gulkana, Mentasta Lake, and Tazlina 

WHO: Residents of other rural communities in the Copper Basin 

Participate in the CHS, including harvesting for oneself, harvesting on behalf of another CHS participant and asking another CHS participant to harvest on one’s behalf 

YES 

NO 

Designate someone else to harvest moose or caribou for you using a Federal Designated Hunter permit* 

NO 

YES 

Serve as a Federal designated hunter (using a Federal Designated Hunter permit*) for a resident of Cantwell, Chistochina, Chitina, Copper Center, Gakona, Gulkana, Mentasta Lake, and Tazlina  

NO 

NO 

Serve as a Federal designated hunter(using a Federal Designated Hunter permit*) for a resident of other rural communities and areas 

YES 

YES 

 

* Both Designated Hunter and Recipient must have valid Alaska State hunting licenses and must be Federally qualified subsistence users with matching customary and traditional use determinations for the area hunted. 

 

Who can I contact with questions and for more information? 

  • AITRC  907-822-4466, connect@ahtnatribal.org 
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM): Marnie Graham, 907 822-7318 (desk), 907 795-5761 (cell), or mgraham@blm.gov  
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM): Chris McKee, 907 271-1298 (desk), 907 202-3090 (cell), or pmckee@blm.gov 
  • National Park Service (NPS): Barbara Cellarius, Subsistence Coordinator, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, at 907 205-0157 or barbara_cellarius@nps.gov 
  • Office of Subsistence Management (OSM): Lisa Grediagin, 907-786-3357, lisa_grediagin@fws.gov

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