Trump administration wants to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska, like killing hibernating bears, shooting wolf pups in dens

By on May 21, 2018 with 55 Comments

The Trump administration is trying to bring back some of the worst and most appalling hunting practices for wolves, grizzly bears and other wildlife on 20 million acres of federal public lands in Alaska. A rule proposed today by the Department of the Interior would roll back an Obama-era regulation that prohibits such controversial and scientifically unjustified methods of hunting as using artificial light to kill hibernating bears and their cubs, shooting wolf and coyote pups and mothers in their dens, using bait to attract brown and black bears, shooting vulnerable swimming caribou, and using dogs to hunt black bears.

This proposal is unlawful because it conflicts with clear statutory directives from Congress that the National Park Service must conserve and protect wildlife in national preserves.

For years, the National Park Service has pushed back against Alaska’s increased use of fringe hunting methods that prioritize trophy hunting over conservation. After being fed up with the state’s efforts to expand killing of predators on national preserves in order to have more ungulates such as caribou to hunt, the NPS, in 2014, began work on a rule that was finalized the following year. That rule made clear that certain methods of hunting that Alaska sanctions for predator control are inconsistent with the NPS’s conservation mandates, and are prohibited on national preserves in Alaska.

Last year, when the state of Alaska and Safari Club International sued NPS to invalidate this crucial rule, the Humane Society of the United States intervened in the lawsuit to defend the rule and similar rules issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Now, in a new ploy, the NPS is claiming that due to secretarial orders issued by Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to expand hunting opportunities on federal lands and improve coordination with states, the agency is required to rescind these protections. In reality, the agency and Zinke have no authority to override Congressional protections for these federal lands.

This proposed rule also goes against the wishes of Alaskans themselves, and can hurt the state’s economy. A March 2016 poll found that most Alaskans abhor and oppose these hunting practices, and support putting a stop to these methods on federal lands. Alaska’s predator control practices also do not make any economic sense. Wildlife watching in Alaska contributes far more to local economies than trophy hunting. Like Alaskans, most Americans value wildlife and relish the unique opportunity to see bears, wolves, river otters, wolverines and lynx in Alaska’s national parks and preserves. Wildlife watchers who visit Alaska’s national parks and preserves, such as Denali, contribute more than $2 billion each year toward these activities, with wolves and grizzly bears among the biggest lures for tourists. Wildlife watching contributes five times more than the amount generated in Alaska from all hunting activity (and these extreme methods account for only a tiny fraction of total hunting in the state).

We need your help to stop the federal government from handing over some of our most precious wildlife to trophy hunters. Please post your comments here to tell the Department of the Interior that you do not support these methods of hunting, and urge them to keep the prohibitions in place. Here’s a sample message you can use or adapt: “I am opposed to the National Park Service’s plan to repeal the 2015 rule, which would be inconsistent with the agency’s statutory conservation mandate, prohibiting killing hibernating bears and their cubs using artificial light, shooting wolf and coyote pups and mothers in their dens, using bait to attract brown and black bears to shoot them point blank, shooting vulnerable swimming caribou, and using dogs to hunt black bears. Americans do not support these hunting methods and travel to Alaska to see these wild animals, providing billions of essential dollars to the local economy to do so. Please keep these prohibitions in place.”

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Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. south carolina | July 11, 2018
  1. Maria Alvarez says:

    Stop the war on wildlife and their young!
    Some “humans” are the worst!!!!

    • Anna Stein says:

      I so agree 😢

    • Razorsfury says:

      I am assuming you have no idea what people in this areas deal with concerning over population of bears and wolves yet still have an opinion of how to deal with it…

      • Sharon Feldberg says:

        Overpopulation of who? You are taking th animals territory.

      • Scurry30 says:

        What makes you more deserving of that land than the animals. They were there before humans. If they don’t like living among bears and wolves then they should leave. If a bear were to come in a home and kill the residents of that home, it would be an outrage. If they’re asleep in their dens, then they’re not bothering anybody.

  2. Sheila Mayol says:

    This message is to the Humane Society. Why is there not a petition for us to sign? When you run an article like this, your should at least give us somewhere to start to do something!

    • Blog Editor says:

      Hi Sheila, the comment form will become available today and we will post a link. Stay tuned.

    • Frances Leard says:

      I was wondering the same thing. However, we keep signing petitions and never hear of any positive action taken to help these precious animals. This craziness must be stopped

    • Cami says:

      There is…look on Change.org. I have been circulating one on twitter since yesterday.

    • Aidan Devlon says:

      The comment form linked here actually goes to the official site, where proposed changes are subject to a 60-day public comment period. However, they don’t make it very public…they don’t want a public outcry, so spread the word!

      This is more helpful than a petition on another site, because they have to review these, as the comments on that page are part of official records. Unfortunately, you can get hundreds of thousands of signatures on a petition, and they can ignore it. The Obama administration introduced a threshold for WH comment, but it isn’t official, so the new administration can ignore those efforts completely, or do so partially.

      So PLEASE share and comment on the official page.

  3. Lisa B says:

    Ryan Zinke does not give a hoot about what any of us thinks. The comments period is a joke. 95% of the almost one million public comments were opposed shrinking Bear’s Ears, and he immediately recommended that it be decimated. The only thing that will stop him is endless lawsuits to postpone all of his ideas until he is swept out of office along with Trump. Donate whatever you can afford to environmental justice organizations that will sue, sue, and sue some more.

  4. Bliss says:

    Where is the link?

    • Blog Editor says:

      Hi Bliss, the form where you can comment will become available today and we’ll post the link once it is. Stay tuned.

  5. Julie Guarino says:

    Here the comment I submitted:
    This rationale for this proposed rule change is that it will make national policy in line with Alaska’s policies. But the directives of the Congress that the National Park Service, is that they must conserve and protect wildlife in national preserves. These are national preserves, that do not take their directions from the state of Alaska. They must take their direction from these two national agencies which are directed by the American people. These proposed rule changes are not only in humane, but are unlawful.

  6. Krys says:

    I don’t blame Trump, and was glad when he helped save the elephants, but this other guy, ugh. They say it’s a sport but what sport is so cowardly, lazy, and pathetic as to allow such low tactics?! There’s no skill in this! It is a display of the kind of stupid, shallow, self-important cruelty only humans know. Besides all that, killers often learn to kill animals first, all this unnecessary bloodshed of innocents could easily be to blame for much of the shootings and things going on now.

  7. Sherry says:

    FYI. The comment line does not open on phones. It did on my computer, but no one has been able to open on a phone. It just keeps saying “loading”.

  8. Bonnie says:

    No!!!

  9. Hazel says:

    How can people stop this Trump atrocity? Is there an email address, petition, phone number or anyway for people to stop this dead in it’s tracks?

  10. Annette says:

    This makes my heart hurt. All Trump does is reverse all the good in the world, especially if it was put in place by Obama. I am so sad to be living in a world that is constantly moving backwards. God bless the bears and wolves of Alaska.

  11. ESTHER REDMOUNT says:

    To the Department of the Interior and President Trump,
    Animal Control and Management is one thing, these inhumane hunting methods are another. Do not revoke these protections for bears and wolves and caribou. If hunters are looking for real sport they can find it without engaging in such slaughter. Baiting, hunting cubs in dens, this makes hunters poachers. Please leave these protections in place.

  12. Mrs.Mcnair says:

    Whatever it is that our government /congress /wh can do to save the animals just have a heart & do it plain & simple cause this is madness & ridiculous!

  13. Julie H says:

    Hunting for sport is no sport at all. While it was once part of one’s survival to hunt, these people who hunt for sport have no need for these animals they kill and, often waste their remains and for what? To prove you’re manly? A person who does this is no man at all and is certainly not courageous or impressive. A person who engages in this type of sport also proves nothing. Instead he or she is killing innocent lives in a cruel fashion and then being wasteful by not fully utilizing the remains as true hunters once did. Where is the good nature of this sort of sport? How can this be considered a sport at all? “According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, thousands of injuries are attributed to hunting in the U.S. every year—and that number only includes incidents involving humans.” (Source: PETA) Why continue such an unnecessary sport that solves nothing and proves nothing?

  14. Joan M says:

    “I am opposed to the National Park Service’s plan to repeal the 2015 rule, which would be inconsistent with the agency’s statutory conservation mandate, prohibiting killing hibernating bears and their cubs using artificial light, shooting wolf and coyote pups and mothers in their dens, using bait to attract brown and black bears to shoot them point blank, shooting vulnerable swimming caribou, and using dogs to hunt black bears. Americans do not support these hunting methods and travel to Alaska to see these wild animals, providing billions of essential dollars to the local economy to do so. Please keep these prohibitions in place

    • kem morehead says:

      Hi. Where do I send this?

      Thank you! I’m quite frustrated that I can’t figure out where to send my comments. I thought there was supposed to be an open comment period. Where is that?

      Thank you for for any info.

  15. David Engler says:

    I attempted to upload to this comment on the regulations.gov website unsuccessfully. Even tried to submit a help desk comment and that didn’t work. I’m going to call them next to see why this won’t work.
    I shared my thoughts, thru resist bot, with both my Senators and asked them to ask Zinke to rescind the proposed rule.

    NPS RIN (1024-AE38)
    I write today to oppose the proposed NPS rule which would re-instate cruel and appalling hunting practices on Federal lands. The NPS rule, would, among other things, remove existing prohibitions against killing hibernating bears, and their cubs as well as allow the killing of coyote pups and their mothers in their dens. These cruel practices should not exist, they are not fair sporting methods, are opposed in public opinion research conducted in Alaska, and certainly should not be reinstated by rule. Besides the self-evident humanitarian argument, the agency has no authority to override Congressional protections for these federal lands.

  16. David Engler says:

    See Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue on the proposed rule @jimmykimmel.

  17. James says:

    An earlier commenter wrote:
    I write today to oppose the proposed NPS rule which would re-instate cruel and appalling hunting practices on Federal lands. The NPS rule, would, among other things, remove existing prohibitions against killing hibernating bears, and their cubs as well as allow the killing of coyote pups and their mothers in their dens. These cruel practices should not exist, they are not fair sporting methods, are opposed in public opinion research conducted in Alaska, and certainly should not be reinstated by rule. Besides the self-evident humanitarian argument, the agency has no authority to override Congressional protections for these federal lands.

    I can’t add to this other than these proposals are inexcusable, horrific and must be stopped. These marvelous sentient beings deserve human protection.

  18. acorad says:

    Unfortunately many people are somewhat low-information on this subject.

    What many people do not know is that these tactics have always been legal and always used in AK. The tactics were invented by the indigenous peoples 1000’s of years ago and as such they have been used in the state for, literally, 1000’s of years.

    And Obama’s ban of the tactics on Fed land did not apply to the indigenous people. iow, indigenous/subsistence hunters have legally and happily continued to use these “extreme” tactics on Fed land despite the ban.

    What the Trump admin is doing now is re-aligning the Fed laws with the decades-old State laws; those same State laws that the Fed laws were aligned with for decades previous to Obama’s ban.

    So, if people really think these tactics really are inhumane, where is the outrage at the state of AK who allows the tactics?

    Where is the outrage at the native Alaskans/subsistence hunters who consider it their given right to employ such tactics?

  19. James LaCroix says:

    Ethical hunters don’t kill sleeping animals, undeveloped young, or those animals at a disadvantage, such as swimming Caribou. Adult wolves in unchecked populations do pose a serious risk to livestock. I’ve also seen many photos of people’s dogs after wolves attacked them, so I do understand the need for some control of the adult wolf population, in some areas. But there is no excuse for execution of young in the den.

  20. Joshua Haas says:

    That is the most ridiculous thing Iv ever heard of. As if those people dont kill enough animals as is. Now they will be taking away the animals chance to escape or fight back. That’s really what they have come to? Killing defenseless animals and babies.. Its a sad world!

  21. Tad Hefner says:

    I am WAS neither Trump supporter nor hater, but a statement like this can make me hate him for life. I work for an animal control company Critter Getter (www.crittergetter.io). We have a job of stopping animals from intruding human spaces, still, everyone in our group excels in providing a humane animal control service. While our control officers are trying hard to save every animal from human anger, Trump is handling license to kill these lovely creatures?
    He is disturbing nature which might not turn out well for him.

  22. MG says:

    Let’s see- I am sickened- these animals do not have a voice, and only have fifteen per cent of their habitat in the wild.

  23. P J Binnion says:

    The government should be using zoologists/and or people that are qualified with the minimum of a Master’s degree in the study of animal behavior to decide the best way to deal with animal populations. Hunters are NOT experts. Killing animals triggers them to produce more offspring for survival. People choose where they can live our wildlife does not. People claim they want to live in the wild of Alaska then they need to realize they will be living with wild animals. When I was growing up I visited my grandparents in Pennsylvania. I remember bears coming down from the mountains so we needed to be vigilant. They couldn’t be killed unless they actually entered the one’s house. Seldom did they come during the day. Not once did they bother the horse or cow.

  24. Jamie says:

    This barbaric practice should not be reinstated. Cubs/pups die being left without mom’s that are killed.
    It’s inhumane.

  25. Claudia says:

    Targeting cubs with mothers, baiting, and other extreme hunting measures promoted by this resolution have no place on our public lands. How sad the there’s people out there that use this as a form of entertainment. It’s cruel, disgusting and inhumane.

    I am opposed to the National Park Service’s plan to repeal the 2015 rule, which would be inconsistent with the agency’s statutory conservation mandate, prohibiting killing hibernating bears and their cubs using artificial light, shooting wolf and coyote pups and mothers in their dens, using bait to attract brown and black bears to shoot them point blank, shooting vulnerable swimming caribou, and using dogs to hunt black bears. Americans do not support these hunting methods and travel to Alaska to see these wild animals, providing billions of essential dollars to the local economy to do so. Please keep these prohibitions in place

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