Through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Obama administration has issued new regulations closing 77 million acres of land in Alaska to state wildlife management, including predator control and other established means and methods of hunting. In other words, in an area larger than 45 of 50 US states, the Feds have taken Alaska’s right to manage Alaska wildlife.
Predictably, the animal rightist Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) praised the administration for taking this unconstitutional action. Obama’s blatant preemption of the State of Alaska’s rights to manage wildlife and set hunting rules on these millions of acres throws out over than 200 years of legal precedent, as well as ignoring recent Congressional enactments.
Our Constitution gives the states primary authority to manage publicly owned fish and wildlife, including federal lands. This authority includes, among others, setting hunting and fishing seasons and regulate the means and methods used to take fish and wildlife. USFWS has a limited right to preempt this state authority, but and only when Congress provides it specific authority; think duck stamps and the Endangered Species Act. Three times, Congress has directed that the state, not USFWS, has the primary authority to set hunting and fishing rules in Alaska Yet the Obama Administration is ignoring Congress and more than 200 years of Constitutional law to take care of his cronies at the HSUS and other hunters haters.
Hopefully, lawsuits will wend their way to the Supreme Court, or perhaps Congress will act and put 77 million acres back in the control of the people of Alaska. Or perhaps the Trump Administration will include this in its expected broad reversal of Obama Executive Orders. Regardless for sportsmen and women, this is a harbinger of things to come. Federal overreach is a dangerous precedent for future exploitation of our natural resources and our natural rights. You have been warned.