Senate lifts ban on predator killing in Alaska refuges

A grizzly checks out visitors in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Photo by Florian Schulz/Anchorage Museum)

The U.S. Senate today voted to overturn an Obama Administration rule that banned certain methods of killing predators on national wildlife refuges in Alaska.

Listen now

The vote was 52 to 47.

The Obama administration wanted to ban killing bear cubs and wolves in their dens, killing brown bears over bait and other practices that opponents deem inhumane.

Many of the would-be banned methods aren’t broadly allowed in Alaska anyway, but the state Game Board said they’re tools that it should be able to deploy, when needed, to restore a balance between predator and prey species.

Alaska’s congressional delegation argued that the state has the right to manage hunting throughout Alaska and that the rule violated the statehood compact and other federal laws.

The House has already voted to overturn the regulation. President Trump is expected to sign the repeal.

An identical Park Service regulation remains on the books related to hunting on Alaska’s national preserves.

Correction: A previous version of this story mischaracterized state hunting rules on killing bears over bait. Bear baiting is legal in multiple Alaska game management units.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage.

Previous articleMurkowski at odds with Trump’s call to end NEA funding
Next articleTo the displeasure of some locals, Tailgate Alaska grabs land use permit from DNR