Good News for State Legislatures in Alaska

firstforhuntersbearandmountainsLast month, Alaska Governor, Sean Parnell, signed two pieces of legislation into law that were supported by Safari Club International (SCI). These bills, HB 161 and SB 190, promote outdoor recreation and makes it possible for unlicensed individuals to be paid for their work as camp help and packers.

HB 161 bolsters the Governor’s license program for auctions and raffles of big game harvest permits. With Governor Parnell’s signature, non-profits may now keep 30% of the revenue from the auction or raffle of each permit – up from 10%. HB 161 added language specifically stating the proceeds be used only to support outdoor tradition education, conservation and wildlife protection projects approved by the department.

The law also goes on to increase the number of permits available from 19 to 42, and adds new species such as black bear, goat and elk, to the list of permissible game. This increase in the number of permits available is a huge victory for conservation programs and preserving our hunting heritage through education programs since the expanded program is certain to increase the revenue drawn from tag auctions and raffles.

“Auctioning big game permits is an economic process that will benefit conservation programs for the Department of Fish and Game,” said SCI Government Affairs Chairman and Alaskan Eddie Grasser. “Proceeds from these auctions directly benefit the wildlife of Alaska and the preservation of our storied hunting heritage in the state. SCI thanks Governor Parnell for signing these bills into law and for supporting thee sportsmen of Alaska in the process.”

SB 190 allows paid compensation to unlicensed Alaskans to perform duties that are currently restricted to those holding a guide license. Registered, licensed guides and outfitters are now able to hire and pay certain unlicensed workers to pack meat, hides and other gear from the field as well perform other basic camp chores. Under the old state law it was illegal for a registered guide-outfitter to pay unlicensed workers to perform these takes. The law now expands the apprenticeship programs for guides and outfitters and strengthens the training to instill science based management best practices in the field.

Hunters and anglers in Alaska number over 563,000, spend $1.16 billion annually and support 15,942 jobs. All the Member of Congress representing the state are members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and Governor Parnell is a member of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus, each caucus works to protect and promote the sportsmen’s traditions in Alaska. SCI works closely with the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucus (NAC) to help promote the interaction and idea exchange among state caucus leaders and the outdoor community.

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