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Prince of Wales Federal Lands Closed Aug. 1-21
For Those Not Qualified As Subsistence Hunters


August 02, 2003
Saturday - 1:15 am

Tongass National Forest - The federal subsistence hunting season for deer in Alaska's Game Management Unit 2 opened July 24, 2003, and runs through Dec. 31. Hunting is closed on federal public lands on the island from Aug. 1 to 21 to people who are not federally-qualified subsistence users. A person must be a rural Alaska resident to harvest fish and wildlife under federal subsistence regulations.

This restriction for non-rural, non-resident, and rural residents not located in Unit 1A, 2, or 3 applies only to federal lands on Prince of Wales Island. All lands on adjacent islands (Heceta, Dall, Suemez and adjacent islands) are open to all deer hunters regardless of their rural or non-rural status beginning Aug. 1. Hunters planning to hunt on private lands on Prince of Wales Island should obtain permission from the landowner prior to the beginning of the hunt. Permission is not required to hunt on Alaska state lands.

All communities and areas in southeast Alaska are rural except for the Juneau area (including Juneau, West Juneau and Douglas) and the Ketchikan area (including Ketchikan City, Clover Pass, North Tongass Highway, Ketchikan East, Mountain Point, Herring Cove, Saxman East, Pennock Island and part of Gravina Island).

According to federal subsistence regulations, to be considered a rural Alaska resident you must have your primary, permanent residence in either Unit 1A, 2, or 3. Rural residents from other communities do not meet the customary and traditional use requirements for being issued a federal registration permit. Federally-qualified deer hunters must have a federal registration permit. Ownership or use of a seasonal residence does not qualify you as a rural resident.

"Federally-qualified users who chose to hunt under the federal system must complete and return the federal permit hunt report forms within 15 days after harvesting each of their four deer or 15 days following the season if they don't kill any deer," said Jim Brainard, wildlife habitat biologist, Petersburg Ranger District. "This is a mandatory reporting requirement. Those who don't return the permits will not be eligible to receive permits next season."

Brainard said the information provided by subsistence users is vital in making sound decisions for deer management on Prince of Wales and across the entire Tongass National Forest.

According to a recent news release from the Office of Subsistence Management Alaska Region, the Federal Subsistence Board made the Prince of Wales ruling in May because evidence indicated the deer population on Prince of Wales Island has declined and competition from non-subsistence hunters appears to have increased.

The Prince of Wales seasons will remain in effect for one year. According to the Office of Subsistence Management release, during that time, a cooperative deer management planning effort involving subsistence and non-subsistence users and federal and state managers will seek to find a longer-term solution for management of deer hunting on Prince of Wales Island.

Forest Service officials also remind subsistence hunters they still need to abide by state hunting rules while harvesting deer on federal lands.

"Federally-qualified Unit 2 deer hunters 16 and older are only required to possess federal registration permits and a state hunting license. Children between the ages of 10 and 15 only need a federal registration permit. A federal registration permit is required for each deer harvested in Unit 2 under federal regulations. State harvest tickets are only required by federally-qualified subsistence hunters if they are hunting on non-federal lands after Aug. 22," explained David Johnson, subsistence coordinator, Tongass National Forest.

According to Kim Titus, deputy director, Division of Wildlife Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, federally-qualified users can choose to hunt under state regulations and not possess a federal registration permit after Aug. 21.

"If they choose this option they cannot begin hunting on federal public lands on Prince of Wales Island until Aug. 22," he said. "They need a state hunting license and state harvest tickets, and they cannot shoot a doe."

The federal subsistence deer bag limit for Unit 2 is four deer; however, no more than one deer may be an antlerless deer.

"Antlerless deer may be taken only during the period Oct. 15 to Dec. 31," said Johnson. "The combined federal and state Unit 2 bag limit is only four deer."

"Hunters also need to realize that deer bag limits are not cumulative between state and federal regulations," added Ken Pearson, lead law enforcement officer, Ketchikan Supervisor's Office. "The limit is four deer whether hunting under federal subsistence rules or state hunting regulations."

For more information on federal subsistence regulations, including designated hunter permits, visit a District Ranger office, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of Subsistence Management toll free at (800) 478-1456 or check out their website at Information also is available from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game online at

Hunters can get copies of the 2003-2004 Federal Subsistence Regulations at most federal natural resource agencies in Alaska. Hunters can get federal regulation booklets at Tongass National Forest Offices in Craig, Hoonah, Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka, Thorne Bay, Wrangell and Yakutat.


Source of News Release:

USDA Forest Service - Tongass National Forest
Web Site


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