Interior Department proposes legalizing cruel and previously prohibited hunting methods

May 23, 2018 • 1:15 pm

NBC News has highlighted some of the Interior Department’s proposed changes to the federal regulations about hunting. First designed to take effect in Alaska, but now proposed for the entire U.S., these changes (proposed regulations here) will overturn the following Obama-era prohibitions and thus allow barbaric forms of hunting (well, many forms of hunting, like using bows and arrows, already are barbaric):

The Trump administration is moving to reverse Obama-era rules barring hunters on some public lands in Alaska from baiting brown bears with bacon and doughnuts and using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens.

Under the proposed changes, hunters would also be allowed to hunt black bears with dogs, kill wolves and pups in their dens, and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou.

These and other hunting methods — condemned as cruel by wildlife protection advocates — were outlawed on federal lands in 2015. Members of the public have 60 days to provide comment on the proposed new rules.

From the regulations themselves; this will now be allowed (note that you can use light to lure bears too). It’s horrible!

The Final Rule codified prohibitions on certain types of harvest practices that are otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska. The practices are: Taking any black bear, including cubs and sows with cubs, with artificial light at den sites; harvesting brown bears over bait; taking wolves and coyotes (including pups) during the denning season (between May 1 and August 9); taking swimming caribou; taking caribou from motorboats under power; taking black bears over bait; and using dogs to hunt black bears.

I don’t understand the mentality of people who would permit these things. They value trophies more than the lives of animals, and as for shooting mothers and hibernating cubs, well, I have no words except it’s Trump and his environment-hating minions.

The rationale for the regulations, at the Federal Register, includes “increasing outdoor recreation.” How “recreational” is it to lure bears with donuts and then kill them? Or slaughter hibernating mothers and cubs? CUBS, for crying out loud:

Part of the stated purpose of Secretarial Order 3347 is to increase outdoor recreation and improve the management of game species and their habitat. Secretarial Order 3347 directs the Department of the Interior to identify specific actions to (1) expand access significantly for recreational hunting and fishing on public lands; and (2) improve recreational hunting Start Printed Page 23622and fishing cooperation, consultation, and communication with state wildlife managers.

What can you do about this? Here’s what:

You may submit comments, identified by Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 1024-AE38, by either of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Mail or hand deliver to: National Park Service, Regional Director, Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501.

Instructions: Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other than those specified above. All submissions received must include the words “National Park Service” or “NPS” and must include the docket number or RIN (1024-AE38) for this rulemaking. Comments received will be posted without change to, including any personal information provided.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to

In short, go the the link, put RIN: 1024-AE38 in the search box, and then make a comment and submit it. I ask readers who are opposed to this proposed legislation to at least say a few words. Please!

h/t: Ken

62 thoughts on “Interior Department proposes legalizing cruel and previously prohibited hunting methods

  1. As a former employee of a federal regulatory agency, I can tell you that they do take comments into account. They are required by law to address them formally (they will group similar comments).

    It is worth your time to send comments if you are a US citizen.

    If enough outrage is recorded, it could make a difference. Alaska is a TINY proportion of the US population!

      1. I think they have some bot-proofing on the portal; but I don’t know how good it is.

        It’s hard to manufacture fake letters in a short period of time. It can be done, I suppose; but the labor and expense and details involved are much greater than programming a bot to send email.

    1. I understand that Russian bots now comment copiously on our proposed federal regulations.

      And the current administration is doing little, if anything, to curb the Russians from interfering in our democracy.

      1. And the current administration is doing little, if anything, to curb the Russians from interfering in our democracy.

        Understatement of the year.

        Can’t bite the hand that fed you. (And still has the pee-pee tape.)

  2. This is likely the result of people like Zinke and Scott Pruitt over at EPA who sit around and think up the most disgusting and reprehensible things the humans can do and then make it law. They are the lowest form of life on this earth these guys. My hope will be that many of these jackass hunters will wound and shoot each other while doing this type of thing. I will hope so and feel nothing for them.

    Imagine shooting and killing Caribou from a motorboat? What a great sportsman you must be to do such a thing. It has been illegal for years to pursue any animal in hunting with the use of any type vehicle, airplane or otherwise motorize machine. This is really perverted.

    1. “Imagine shooting and killing Caribou from a motorboat? What a great sportsman you must be to do such a thing. It has been illegal for years to pursue any animal in hunting with the use of any type vehicle, airplane or otherwise motorize machine.”

      I’m sorry Randall but this is not true. Inuit and other Native Americans have long had these rights. Also, hogs and coyotes can be legally hunted by helicopter in some states. Care to guess which ones?

      1. I will just say specifically, in Iowa you cannot chase or hunt any animal with any type of motorize machine. I surely was not speaking about native Americans as they get special hunting rights. Most all hunting regulations are made and enforced at state level. Only on federal property would the feds get involved. Most people also know these things. If you know some state that allows hunting of coyotes or other animals from helicopters I would be curious to hear about that being done. It is certainly stupid and a most uneconomical way of hunting. At minimum a helicopter cost about $400 an our to operate. So you have a rich and stupid hunter. In the old days when it was legal, it was done in J-3 cub aircraft.

          1. I guess you are proof that if you spend enough time on line, you can find anything.

            I would have expected that Texas would be the place. They like to expand the word slaughter as far as possible. The cheap place is $1250 per hour and the other is $15,000 for 6 hours. Just as I suspected – rich and stupid. Also pathetic. Oh, another lie they put out that I saw is their statement that doing this is a good way to control population in the wild hogs. That was never true in coyote hunting and likely is also not true here.

    2. I agree. The idea that the remains of such an act should be considered a ‘trophy’ is obscene. The word surely implies some bravery and or skill was involved but such a ‘trophy’ is no more than a momentous of an act of moronic cowardice.

    3. New Zealand has far more restrictive gun laws than the US.

      However deer and possibly goats are permitted for hunting from helicopters in mountain areas (with the right permits). But the objective is environmental control – they do extensive damage to mountain vegetation and exacerbate erosion, and ordinary ground-based hunting just isn’t effective. Anyone who gets their jollies out of shooting animals just has to do it the hard way, on foot.


  3. All good Christians know that domination over the Earth only works if they kill off everything else.

    Except STD’s – those are needed to punish sluts.

  4. I read about this in my news feed this morning. Thanks for the link. I submitted a strident opposition to this proposal.

  5. How is it recreational to kill hibernating animals? Or animals in their dens? WTF is wrong with these people? Sad!!!

    This will save Trump’s sons going to Africa to get their trophies.

  6. I suspect a big part of the reason for these new rulings is the Trump is obsessed with Obama’s legacy. He has made many moves that sound like pure vindictiveness already, and this could be just one more example.

  7. I disagree, however, that bows and arrows are barbaric. They seem to me able to kill the prey quickly. At the same time, they give it more chance to escape than firearms.

    1. Well, bow and arrow (and spear, I once knew a young man who hunted black bears (Ursus americanus) in Minnesota with a spear. Now that’s something more like a fair chase!) are more difficult to kill with.

      This means the hunter must get close, must use more wood craft to accomplish their goal.

      However, what it also means in reality, most of the time, is many deer (mainly deer are hunted) that are hit but are not killed quickly. Standard procedure for bow hunters (I know quite a few) is to “follow the blood trail” until you find the spot where the animal lay down due to blood loss or pain or shock and then wait until you’re sure it’s dead (so it doesn’t hop up again and and lead you on another blood trail hike).

      I am not a hunter; but I do not oppose hunting under the right circumstances (not those outlined in Jery’s post!). Where I live, there is a heavy over-population of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). They are destructive and, in hard winters, die of starvation and disease in droves.

      Every autumn, they have bow hunting in the open space (public, undeveloped land, about 600-1000 acres) across the street from our home. I support this whole-heartedly.

      What is the fate of wild animals? To die by parasitism, predation, disease, or starvation. I have a hard time seeing how being hunted by a human is worse (not that you implied such).

  8. “The rationale for the regulations, at the Federal Register, includes ‘increasing outdoor recreation.” How ‘recreational’ is it to lure bears with donuts and then kill them? Or slaughter hibernating mothers and cubs? CUBS, for crying out loud.”

    I totally understand your outrage, but, to be fair, you’re misrepresenting (or perhaps just missing the point of) the rationale. The “outdoor recreation” that the Alaska Board of Game wants to increase is not hunting bears at all, but hunting animals on which bears and wolves prey. The heart of the disagreement between federal and state wildlife managers is that the feds want diversity and the Alaska Board of Game wants to ensure maximum sustained populations of elk, moose, and caribou for hunting.

    I don’t know enough about the situation in Alaska to know whether, as the Obama administration argued, the state had gone too far in prioritizing prey species over predators. But I do know from my experience in working with local communities on environmental issues generally that decisions made by well-intentioned folks in Washington are more likely to be based on ignorance of the facts than decisions that include input from local stakeholders. Just sayin’.

    1. Irrespective of population management issues, do you think killing bears and wolves and their offspring while they are in their dens is OK? Is baiting ok, in your estimation?

      I have no trouble with hunting per se. The methods and their targets, however, are fair game (! :-)) and I don’t think many of us are coming at that out of a state of ignorance.

      1. It makes no sense to say “irrespective of population management issues,” since the issue we’re discussing is a population management one and has nothing to do with acceptable hunting methods.

        We have a similar problem here in Oregon with California sea lions decimating salmon runs as they approach Bonneville Dam and Willamette Falls in the spring. Since the 1990’s, sea lions have consumed tens of thousands of migrating fish at these two locations, many from threatened and endangered runs protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. Because salmon are and have been the iconic bellweather species in the Pacific Northwest for thousands of years, efforts to reduce the population of (i.e., kill) sea lions receives bipartisan, as well as Native American, support here—a rarity, to say the least.

        Your question goes to the issue of how that’s going to happen. Frankly, I’m not sure it matters. Banging baby seals on the head with clubs is inhumane and makes for bad PR, but it at least forces the perpetrators to face up to what they’re doing.

        1. Nonsense.

          The means by which population management is achieved is an important and significant issue. Everyone, non-hunters included, has the right to speak up on methods used to achieve whatever management goals are made.

          If would be like someone suggesting the public, including those who know nothing about how they are built, has no right to comment on how or where a freeway is put in even if everyone agreed one was needed.

        2. I had the opportunity to speak with one of the federal workers tasked with removing those sea lions. Not an enviable job, at all.

          1. If we really wanted to help the endangered Salmon runs, we’d focus on the real threat to their populations. Us. Compared to us, sea lions are responsible for a tiny, infinitesimal effect on this populations. There are fewer places in wildlife management where the aphorism “physician, heal thyself” is more warranted.

            1. The Grand Coulee Dam (1933-42) terminated half the salmon run of the Columbia River system, at that time the second largest fishery in the world (I forget which was the largest).

              Yes, we are the cause of the decline in salmon runs, there is no controversy on this.

              The reason the sea lions can wreak that havoc is because our dams funnel the salmon to a fish ladder that provides a feeding station for the sea lions.

              And the sea lions have been surging in population since being protected from hunting. And the White Sharks have followed; but not fast enough to pare down the sea lion populations. We need more Orcas too.

            2. Agreed. Salmon runs have declined something like 95% in the past 60-70 years here in Washington. Presumably back when the yearly salmon runs had well over a million fish, sea lions were completely uncontrolled.

    2. “generally that decisions made by well-intentioned folks in Washington are more likely to be based on ignorance of the facts than decisions that include input from local stakeholders”

      This may depend on the issue in question. In my (non US) experience hunters frequently claim the superior understanding of ‘true country people’ over ‘townies’ but just as often they display woeful ignorance about ecological processes.

  9. That is horrible. In general, hunting as a “sport” disgusts me. As far as I am concerned, there are only two valid reasons for hunting – when that is the only way one can obtain animal protein, and when official gamekeepers have to cull some species in order to maintain a natural balance in a given area.

    Do you remember how Sarah Palin boasted about her shooting wolves from a helicopter and how fun she said it was – where wolves are declining and endangered. Disgusting. 🙁

    1. It would of course be quite unacceptable to invoke vice versa and suggest what fun it would be to shoot Sarah Palin from a helicopter. With a Minigun. So I won’t.


  10. So I don’t like hunting, as we have less pain- and stressful agrarian methods to produce meat. But I think Swedish hunters would say of den-lightning and boat-shooting that “this is done by slaughterers, not hunters”.

    1. Yes, a sick and demeaning thing…welcome to the U.S. federal govt. and some parts thereof.

    2. You can have all the challenge of hunting without killing anything. Just take a camera instead of a bow or a gun. If you need meat it’s cheaper and more plentiful and better at the supermarket. Wild meat is usually tough and stringy and often riddled with nasty parasites.
      Wildlife is not so plentiful that we can allow any bozo to kill any animal he wants in any way he likes. Personally I think hunting is an anachronism and should be outlawed. It’s unconscionable that for two/three months a year the woods are too dangerous to enter because of these morons who, while not very good usually at hunting, sure can shoot anything that moves including farmers, hikers, mountain bikers, campers and, in one case in Maine (ibn which the “hunter” was acquitted BTW), a woman standing on her own back deck.

      1. Forgive me, but blanket statements give me the hives.

        “If you need meat it’s cheaper and more plentiful and better at the supermarket.”

        This is not necessarily true in some parts, especially the far north. There are many communities that depend on hunting and fishing.

        “Wildlife is not so plentiful that we can allow any bozo to kill any animal he wants in any way he likes.”

        Who is proposing that? Anyway, in many places deer starve to death every year. So do Elk and other wildlife. Mostly this is because in the absence of predators and highly restricted ranges, these wild populations are bigger than the remaining ecosystems can maintain. Hunting is a legitimate way to manage these populations. The trick is to keep the “bozos” doing something else and let the responsible hunters (and they make up the vast majority) work with wild life management authorities to keep wildlife populations healthy and non-hunters safe.

        FTR, I have used your primary argument before with hunters who claim they are in it for the experience of being outdoors; bring a camera instead of a gun. It’s usually met with blank stares.

        1. I can’t speak to population management — but ya might try Calamine Lotion for the hives. 🙂

        2. The trick is to keep the “bozos” doing something else and let the responsible hunters (and they make up the vast majority) work with wild life management authorities to keep wildlife populations healthy and non-hunters safe.


  11. Long ago I sent a letter to the Fish & Game Dept of my state of residence proposing that they issue a license to hunt hunters. I pointed out that the hunter herd had far overrun its range and needed culling. I also wrote that it would make hunting trips much more exciting for hunters if when they go out in the woods to hunt there is someone armed and dangerous already out there looking to hunt them. I never got a reply but I’m sure I’m on a list somewhere and my mail always looks like I’m the second person to read it. It may be time to revive this proposal.

    1. As a teenager, I wrote a letter to the Norwegian consulate, threatening to declare personal war on Norway if they did not immediately desist from hunting whales. I’m sure I’m on some list.

      Ah hell, I’m on a lot of lists.

  12. This administration sinks lower and lower every week. I’d like to think these proposed changes are rock bottom, can’t get any more disgusting but after the last year it seems Trumpians will leave no stone unturned in their war on the environment as they continue to descend even further.

  13. I myself could never hunt for ‘sport’, but I know plenty of decent people who do. As for these sorts of methods, however, they stray into sociopathy.

  14. I don’t understand these proposed changes to Federal hunting regulations. They sound more appropriate to poaching rather than legitimate hunting. Perhaps they apply only to Federal rather then State controlled lands? I’d like to see more clarification on this.

    In general. I support recreational hunting and fishing, though I only fish. Here are some good reasons for hunting:

    1. For food. Many hunted animals are excellent eating. Steaks from deer and other animals are far better eating and more nutritious than any farm raised and corn fed meat you can buy. Licensed hunters (and fisher-persons) cannot sell what they kill.

    2. Population control. Many animal species can become pests if their populations run out of control. Hunting is the only practical and least expensive means of control.

    3. Hunting and fishing are worthwhile recreational pursuits. I would much rather see kids learn to love hunting and fishing in the outdoors (properly supervised) than spend all their time indoors on video games.

    4. Lawful control. Poachers can devastate an animal resource. Around the world, poachers wreak havoc on many animal populations. Wardens are needed to catch these criminals. Biologists and other scientists are needed to regulate these resources. Where does the money for this come from? Largely from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses in the US and many other countries. General tax revenues are seldom adequate on their own.

    For all the general complainers above who are actually serious about doing something worthwhile, put your money where your mouth is. Buy a hunting or fishing license (they come in many denominations and you don’t have to hunt or fish to buy one). Pony or shut up.

  15. If you hunt Animals for fun,or a Trophy and not for needed food, you are a despicable being, a true Psychopathic Narcissist, so its no surprise that the egomaniac in the WH is allowing this.

    1. Hunting is fun. People who hunt do enjoy it, otherwise they wouldn’t be hunters and they’re not despicable persons. The despicable ones are the poachers who destroy a resource for money.

  16. In addition to eating the edible parts, Inuit (for example) try to make use of bones, tusks, horns, skin, etc. for other purposes. So the waste is even more profound than merely not eating the kill on the part of these “trophy hunters”.

    1. I don’t understand your point. There is nothing wrong with trophy hunting per se. What is wrong is selling your “trophy” such as elephant tusks. That is poaching and is illegal because it threatens to destroy the resource (e.g., elephants and other tusked animals because ivory commands big bucks in other parts of the world).

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