USFWS finalizes predator control rule

Aug 4, 2016

Fish and Wildlife Service finalizes rule prohibiting predator control hunting.

Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

After more than a year of public discussion, the US Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday announced a final rule on predator control on Alaska's wildlife refuges.

Togiak National Wildlife Refuge Manager Susanna Henry said the rule prohibits predator control unless based on sound science, and is needed to meet certain objectives.

 “Predator control will not be undertaken unless there is scientific support for it,” she said. “It cannot be simply for the harvesting of more ungulates or prey species or a species that’s eaten by people. In other words, to provide more caribou for consumption.”

The rule prohibits some sport-hunting practices, even if the state of Alaska allows them on other lands. The main change for the Togiak refuge will prohibit taking a black bear on the refuge from an aircraft, or even hunting the same day air travel takes place. That was already prohibited for brown bears. 

Hunting for coyotes and wolves also falls under the predator control rules.

Other elements of the rule also address the public process for closures on the refuge, and require consultation with the State of Alaska, Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations. That typically already happens, and Henry said the newly-required process is much like the one the agency engaged in on the predator control rule.

The final rule is slated for publication in the federal register August 5 and goes into effect September 6. The comment period is over.