The on-time comment deadline for proposals is Feb. 2. The board will meet at the DMS gym from Feb. 16-23, taking up proposed hunting and trapping regulation changes for Units 9, 10, 11, 13, part of 14, 16, and 17.
Kristy Tibbles, the executive director of Alaska's Board of Game, believes next month's meeting will be the first time the board will convene in Dillingham.
"We’re all excited about that," she said. "The board members are excited to get out to that region to listen to the folks who live there. This is the Central/Southwest Region that the board will cover. It's game management units 9, 10, 11, 13, part of 14, 16, and 17."
That covers the east and west sides of Bristol Bay, the Aleutian Islands, plus hunting areas around Palmer and Glennallen.
The deadline for proposals was last spring, and most of the local advisory committees spent the fall meeting cycle vetting the issues carefully. The proposal book is available, but the Board of Game website contains the latest additions like agency comments, updated agendas, and soon the roadmap that will show the order proposals will be deliberated on during the meeting.
There are a handful of proposals that involve the entire region, including adding archery seasons for moose and Dall sheep. Proposals 125 through 149 address issues in Bristol Bay Units 9 and 17, and Unit 10 in the Aleutians. Most take up hunting seasons and bag limit changes for moose, caribou, brown bear, ptarmigan, and Alaska hare, and one proposal seeks to liberalize beaver trapping in Units 9 and 17.
The deadline to submit on-time public comments to the board about these proposals is February 2.
"That’s important because comments that are submitted by that deadline will be in the board members' work books, they get cross referenced with proposals so board members can find them easier, and they’re posted on the website earlier," said Kristi Tibbles. "Comments are accepted after that deadline but they won’t be given to the board members till the meeting, so they’re looking at things right there for the first time."
Testimony is usually limited to five minutes, but it doesn’t have to last that long. Board members will often ask a few follow on questions, said Tibbles. While there are no doubt some tricks and tips savvy veterans of the board process know how to employ, she says anyone can be equally influential in helping shape hunting, trapping, and wildlife management regulations.
“Speak to what you know and why it’s important to you. Board members totally understand that, that’s what they want to hear. Let them know what proposal you’re talking about, what the topic is, and then why it’s important to you, why you support or oppose it, and what you see in the field or what you believe, because those are the things that really help the board members understand the issue.”
The meeting will be held in the Dillingham Middle School gym February 16 through the 23. The school and state staff are working to coordinate internet streaming. The board will accept comments by fax during the meeting, but oral testimony needs to be given in person.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-842-5281