What If They Run Out?
With hunting for sport, commercial use and subsistence, what happens if a certain species begins to die out in an area? The state of Alaska manages sport and commercial hunting and fishing so that the species can replenish. For example, in 2001, sockeye salmon were dwindling on the Chilkoot River. State managers closed the waterway to commercial fishers in order to keep supplies up, and then reduced the daily sport limit from six to one. Subsistence hunters remained unrestricted on sockeye because state and federal law places subsistence as the priority [source: Subsistence Management Information].
Subsistence Hunting Regulations
Moving to Alaska? Then you'll be eligible to subsistence hunt and fish -- with a few exceptions, of course.
All Alaska residents are eligible to subsistence hunt and fish on state lands and waters, as well as private lands. State residence is determined by the location of your primary, permanent residence. If your summer cottage is in Alaska, you're out of luck. In addition, if you just moved to the state, don't take out your hunting rifles yet. To qualify, you must live in Alaska for 12 consecutive months and have the intent to remain indefinitely.
However, even if you fall under the regulations and qualifications of an Alaska resident and are eligible, not all Alaskans may qualify. Because the state must protect fish and wildlife populations that are dwindling or limited, it may not allow every Alaska resident to subsistence hunt.
On most federal lands and waters, only rural Alaska residents may subsistence hunt based on federal regulations. About 20 percent of Alaska's population lived in rural areas in 1999, and from 1978 to 1989, only they qualified for subsistence hunting [source: Wolfe]. Generally, these rural residents can only fish or hunt on federal subsistence areas near where they live in order to keep the loss of wildlife on protected lands and refuges at a minimum. However, on those federal areas not restricted by federal managers, any Alaskan can subsistence hunt or fish [source: Subsistence Management Information].
Although it's not as widespread in the United States as it used to be, subsistence hunting and fishing are required for some, and it remains unlikely to disappear all together. For more information, visit the links on the next page.