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Should Native Alaskan Subsistence Hunters Have to Buy a Duck Stamp?

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April 28, 2010

Should Native Alaskan Subsistence Hunters Have to Buy a Duck Stamp?

By Dave Hurteau

From the Anchorage Daily News:
As waterfowl wing their way to northern nesting grounds by the thousands, key Alaska Native groups are fighting a new federal requirement that subsistence hunters must buy duck stamps….

Native members of a migratory bird panel, meeting in Anchorage last week, said the law is unfair.

Many subsistence hunters don't work and can't afford the stamps or the $100 [for not having one]. Others can't buy the stamps because they're not available in all villages, they said….

John Reft, representing the Sun'aq tribal government in Kodiak, told the panel he's worried about villagers that don't have money.

"These people in outerlying villages don't have jobs," he said. "They want to eat, support their families. That's all we want to do here, just to survive."

Check out the full article and tell us your reaction.

Comments (28)

Top Rated
All Comments
from mad_dog9999 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Why couldn't the gov't just give them the stamps?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from bdarak wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

They should not have to buy stamps...they hunt to support their families. Most of us hunt for pleasure, not necessity.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jakenbake wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

These are people who cannot afford the stamps, and probably wouldn't be able to afford to eat if they aren't allowed to hunt. By hunting, they provide the government with the benefit of less demand for food stamps. The government should be encouraging them to hunt, not the other way around. Saves everybody money.

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I agree w/ all of the above. My ? is, how are they gonna enforce it? If the villages are so remote they can't even buy stamps there, and the people are that poor, how is Alaska gonna hire enough game wardens to ever possibly enforce this?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackdawgz wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

All of us citizens of significant Native American blood should have the option of participating in the American Way of Life to the extent allowed by our belief systems.

We never wanted to be abused by foreign invaders and had our property rights taken away.

Our inherent right get something to eat on our land without a license has long since been taken away.

With treaties being broken with every passing day, why is this now an issue?

These guys have been sitting up there for thousands of years, eating waterfowl and their eggs.

Why not round them up and march them off on a new "Trail of Tears?"

The US Government could put them on the same Reservation as the Seniors whose Social Security benefits are about to be cut.

And everybody else who can no longer afford food, clothing, and shelter.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from JOHN ANDERSON wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I agree just give them the stamps, and maybe some of the U.S HARVEST SURVEYS.As rough as it is up there they should be cut some slack.just my opinion.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from teufelhunden wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

If I am not mistaken native Americans recieve a check from the govt. I know all Alaskans recieve a check. My thing is that, if they take part in govt. entitlement programs then they should be required to participate in govt. responsibility programs.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

All Ak citizens receive a pfd check. This check is based on the earnings of the investments made by the Ak gov based on oil royalties. Many of these people live in areas with honey buckets for a sewage system. No roads. 24 hour darkness and way cold temps and the only electricity is from diesel generators burning oil flown in. Meanwhile in the lower 48 we decide that they can't fish, they can't drill for oil and gas and all kinds of rules and regs. I'd cut them a little slack myself about the duck stamps. When the feds fly in, or the Ak Troopers come calling, things can get ugly. I envy their will to live in that country. The government making it harder on them is a travesty of justice.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckstopper wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I can see a FAR SIDE cartoon in the making. What if some gov't bureaucrat gave the Inuits US food stamps and the lower 48 indigents duck stamps?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

The last time I read about it the U. S. government had created and broken 474 treaties with the Native Americans. I doubt they will halt this mal-treatment of those unfortunates at this point.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roscoe wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I live in a populated area in Ohio and our Post Office hasn't ordered any stamps to sell in years. If we can't get them, I can't imagine how they would.

(Thank goodness for Wal-Mart selling them here)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I used to visit the Alaska Troopers , part of them enforce the Fish and Game laws, when I use to visit Alaska. They use to tell me they would put me to work no questions asked if I would transfer to Alaska. It seems that the wildlife laws are exremely difficult to enforce in Alaska and from what I could gather the native Alaskans ( I made the mistake one time of calling them Eskimos) did whatever ansd killed whatever they wanted to whenever they wanted to with no reguard for the law whatsoever. I would hate to work under those conditions. To the question- Let them kill the ducks- forget the stamp, although every Alaskan does get a check.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I know I'll probably get burned for this answer but, yes they do need to buy stamps. they are using the natural resources that are available to them as to us, and anyways how many ducks will you be shooting if you are substinence hunting to stay alive. The matter of the fact is they are shooting ducks just like everyone else and should be under the same jurisdiction.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ryanjameshurd wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I don't give a damn if they want to fine me. If i'm a subsistence hunter and I live that far away, I'm not buying a stamp or paying a fine. First of all, even if you want to make them buy a stamp, it will cost so much more to enforce the law than you can possibly receive in revenue from stamps or fines.

The game and the fish belong to the people, not the government. I'm all for licensure and whatever, but in the end, we are the managers and the harvesters, not uncle sam.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from pbshooter1217 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

They should have the right to feed their families.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sanjuancb wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I think it is utterly ridiculous. These people have been living this way for hundreds of years. Just another example of government doing what it does best; taking something simple and complicating it.

On a similar note, the story "When the Eiders Flew" featured in "The Best of Field & Stream: 100 Years of Great Writing" is my favorite hunting tale of all time. It is definitely worth the read!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shotgunlou wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

They chose to live there. Any of them can leave any time they want. If I have to buy one they have to buy one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roscoe wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Here's an idea: What if state and federal government allowed food stamps, vouchers, whatever they give out to be used towards licenses and stamps?

If someone can demonstrate a need and wants to survive off of what God provides instead of what the government provides, why make it hard?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

I really doubt the hunters would buy a license even if they were required and the cost of enforcing the requirement would exceed any income from the stamps. In other words the stamps would be a stupid cost prohibited requirement. The government should just take the money set aside for enforcement and buy the stamps for the hunters.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

From what the troopers told me the enforcement would be a hit and miss deal and would not really be a cost productive deal. The troopers told me that there are villages that they haven't been to in years. The only problem they really have is the natives getting drunk
( Alcohol is prohibited, where do they get it ? ) and beat on their women. They only have one real prison and have to fly them all over Alaska to get to it. They have natives in each village that are village police but the natives don't really pay any attention to them. I think all they really do is sort out the bodies when the shooting stops. Really I don't see any really good way of enforcing a duck stamp law.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

No need to buy a stamp, but "subsistence" should be clearly defined, and no subsisting during the breeding season. There has been way to much abuse of "subsistence", and I am referring to WA ST. in which I am familiar with. Young natives that slaughter game during breeding seasons, and commercialization under the term "subsistence."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nwild wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

We've seen abuses of fish stocking programs for commercial gain in the lower 48 states. But these people have never wasted a scrap of wild game...ever. Natives should be left to themselves as far as game goes on their own land. Its the least they deserve for 500 years of getting crapped on.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ConservationStudent wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

This is really a tough question. I agree wholeheartedly that the US govt has abused the Native American and distorted their way of life beyond fixing. And having spent some time deep in the bush I feel for the argument that these people live in a harsh environment and I completely support the Subsistence Hunting laws that exist there. However, I also saw gross abuse of not only tax dollars but also wildlife from far too many of the Natives I met. I met young Natives up there who bragged about killing bears literally just for the sake of killing it, not for the hide, and not for the meat(Ive never met anyone up there that eats Grizzlies) It was sad, and very unexpected to see so many Natives that didnt respect the land or the wildlife. I also met many Natives up there who used their subsistence nets and commercial fishing nets to make huge ammounts of money during the salmon run, up to 10000 dollars a day during the peak of the salmon run, all under the table of course...and far too much of that money ended up being spent on alcohol and toys. I dont claim to know what its like in every Native village, but the Natives in the village I spent time in and around could have ABSOLUTELY afforded a duck stamp, and should have been required to purchase one in my opinion (they made a hell of a lot more money and had nicer things than this broke college kid) especially when you look at the under the table income they make on top of all the government aid they recieve up there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Conservation student...I totally agree with your post. The commercial that shows the Native American with a tear in his eye as a bottle float down the river, is a total false impression as well, as to how slovenly Native American's can be...especially the West Coast Indians. And I get that confirmed first hand from one of them! The USA citizen, and tax payer, got taken to the cleaners with this notion of dual citizenship for Native Americans...they get the best of both worlds. I'm for either, or..choose what you want, but not dual citizenship. The bureau of Indain Affiars has been a 6 billion dollar a year tax payer funded delight for litigating lawyers...it has to end at some point in time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from teufelhunden wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

I believe a simple solution would be for subsistence hunters to register with the state. Once registered the state could deduct the price of a duck stamp from their check. That would eliminate the inconvenience argument.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

If they are bona fide subsistence hunters, they should not be required to buy any licenses or stamps. If they are abusing wildlife in wasteful manners, that should be dealt with. Otherwise, leave them alone. That is akin to you and me being required to buy a Air Stamp to breathe!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I have two thoughts;
first: I would love to live off the land. To survive by hunting and fishing. But I have to buy a license for what ever I go hunt or fish, why should they get to just go do it?
Second: The goverment has made it to where a person can't just excape to the wild and live off the land. Why shouldn't they or anyone else be allowed to do this. I have always thought if I was a homeless person I would go in the mountains, but the goverment wouldn't let this happen.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

And I agree we give them money every month, take it out of that if they really want the money. Its funny though how every thing comes down to money

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from jakenbake wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

These are people who cannot afford the stamps, and probably wouldn't be able to afford to eat if they aren't allowed to hunt. By hunting, they provide the government with the benefit of less demand for food stamps. The government should be encouraging them to hunt, not the other way around. Saves everybody money.

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackdawgz wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

All of us citizens of significant Native American blood should have the option of participating in the American Way of Life to the extent allowed by our belief systems.

We never wanted to be abused by foreign invaders and had our property rights taken away.

Our inherent right get something to eat on our land without a license has long since been taken away.

With treaties being broken with every passing day, why is this now an issue?

These guys have been sitting up there for thousands of years, eating waterfowl and their eggs.

Why not round them up and march them off on a new "Trail of Tears?"

The US Government could put them on the same Reservation as the Seniors whose Social Security benefits are about to be cut.

And everybody else who can no longer afford food, clothing, and shelter.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from teufelhunden wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

If I am not mistaken native Americans recieve a check from the govt. I know all Alaskans recieve a check. My thing is that, if they take part in govt. entitlement programs then they should be required to participate in govt. responsibility programs.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

The last time I read about it the U. S. government had created and broken 474 treaties with the Native Americans. I doubt they will halt this mal-treatment of those unfortunates at this point.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from mad_dog9999 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Why couldn't the gov't just give them the stamps?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from bdarak wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

They should not have to buy stamps...they hunt to support their families. Most of us hunt for pleasure, not necessity.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from JOHN ANDERSON wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I agree just give them the stamps, and maybe some of the U.S HARVEST SURVEYS.As rough as it is up there they should be cut some slack.just my opinion.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ryanjameshurd wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I don't give a damn if they want to fine me. If i'm a subsistence hunter and I live that far away, I'm not buying a stamp or paying a fine. First of all, even if you want to make them buy a stamp, it will cost so much more to enforce the law than you can possibly receive in revenue from stamps or fines.

The game and the fish belong to the people, not the government. I'm all for licensure and whatever, but in the end, we are the managers and the harvesters, not uncle sam.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roscoe wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Here's an idea: What if state and federal government allowed food stamps, vouchers, whatever they give out to be used towards licenses and stamps?

If someone can demonstrate a need and wants to survive off of what God provides instead of what the government provides, why make it hard?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I agree w/ all of the above. My ? is, how are they gonna enforce it? If the villages are so remote they can't even buy stamps there, and the people are that poor, how is Alaska gonna hire enough game wardens to ever possibly enforce this?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

All Ak citizens receive a pfd check. This check is based on the earnings of the investments made by the Ak gov based on oil royalties. Many of these people live in areas with honey buckets for a sewage system. No roads. 24 hour darkness and way cold temps and the only electricity is from diesel generators burning oil flown in. Meanwhile in the lower 48 we decide that they can't fish, they can't drill for oil and gas and all kinds of rules and regs. I'd cut them a little slack myself about the duck stamps. When the feds fly in, or the Ak Troopers come calling, things can get ugly. I envy their will to live in that country. The government making it harder on them is a travesty of justice.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckstopper wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I can see a FAR SIDE cartoon in the making. What if some gov't bureaucrat gave the Inuits US food stamps and the lower 48 indigents duck stamps?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roscoe wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I live in a populated area in Ohio and our Post Office hasn't ordered any stamps to sell in years. If we can't get them, I can't imagine how they would.

(Thank goodness for Wal-Mart selling them here)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I used to visit the Alaska Troopers , part of them enforce the Fish and Game laws, when I use to visit Alaska. They use to tell me they would put me to work no questions asked if I would transfer to Alaska. It seems that the wildlife laws are exremely difficult to enforce in Alaska and from what I could gather the native Alaskans ( I made the mistake one time of calling them Eskimos) did whatever ansd killed whatever they wanted to whenever they wanted to with no reguard for the law whatsoever. I would hate to work under those conditions. To the question- Let them kill the ducks- forget the stamp, although every Alaskan does get a check.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from pbshooter1217 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

They should have the right to feed their families.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

From what the troopers told me the enforcement would be a hit and miss deal and would not really be a cost productive deal. The troopers told me that there are villages that they haven't been to in years. The only problem they really have is the natives getting drunk
( Alcohol is prohibited, where do they get it ? ) and beat on their women. They only have one real prison and have to fly them all over Alaska to get to it. They have natives in each village that are village police but the natives don't really pay any attention to them. I think all they really do is sort out the bodies when the shooting stops. Really I don't see any really good way of enforcing a duck stamp law.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sanjuancb wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I think it is utterly ridiculous. These people have been living this way for hundreds of years. Just another example of government doing what it does best; taking something simple and complicating it.

On a similar note, the story "When the Eiders Flew" featured in "The Best of Field & Stream: 100 Years of Great Writing" is my favorite hunting tale of all time. It is definitely worth the read!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

I really doubt the hunters would buy a license even if they were required and the cost of enforcing the requirement would exceed any income from the stamps. In other words the stamps would be a stupid cost prohibited requirement. The government should just take the money set aside for enforcement and buy the stamps for the hunters.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

If they are bona fide subsistence hunters, they should not be required to buy any licenses or stamps. If they are abusing wildlife in wasteful manners, that should be dealt with. Otherwise, leave them alone. That is akin to you and me being required to buy a Air Stamp to breathe!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shotgunlou wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

They chose to live there. Any of them can leave any time they want. If I have to buy one they have to buy one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

No need to buy a stamp, but "subsistence" should be clearly defined, and no subsisting during the breeding season. There has been way to much abuse of "subsistence", and I am referring to WA ST. in which I am familiar with. Young natives that slaughter game during breeding seasons, and commercialization under the term "subsistence."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ConservationStudent wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

This is really a tough question. I agree wholeheartedly that the US govt has abused the Native American and distorted their way of life beyond fixing. And having spent some time deep in the bush I feel for the argument that these people live in a harsh environment and I completely support the Subsistence Hunting laws that exist there. However, I also saw gross abuse of not only tax dollars but also wildlife from far too many of the Natives I met. I met young Natives up there who bragged about killing bears literally just for the sake of killing it, not for the hide, and not for the meat(Ive never met anyone up there that eats Grizzlies) It was sad, and very unexpected to see so many Natives that didnt respect the land or the wildlife. I also met many Natives up there who used their subsistence nets and commercial fishing nets to make huge ammounts of money during the salmon run, up to 10000 dollars a day during the peak of the salmon run, all under the table of course...and far too much of that money ended up being spent on alcohol and toys. I dont claim to know what its like in every Native village, but the Natives in the village I spent time in and around could have ABSOLUTELY afforded a duck stamp, and should have been required to purchase one in my opinion (they made a hell of a lot more money and had nicer things than this broke college kid) especially when you look at the under the table income they make on top of all the government aid they recieve up there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Conservation student...I totally agree with your post. The commercial that shows the Native American with a tear in his eye as a bottle float down the river, is a total false impression as well, as to how slovenly Native American's can be...especially the West Coast Indians. And I get that confirmed first hand from one of them! The USA citizen, and tax payer, got taken to the cleaners with this notion of dual citizenship for Native Americans...they get the best of both worlds. I'm for either, or..choose what you want, but not dual citizenship. The bureau of Indain Affiars has been a 6 billion dollar a year tax payer funded delight for litigating lawyers...it has to end at some point in time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from teufelhunden wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

I believe a simple solution would be for subsistence hunters to register with the state. Once registered the state could deduct the price of a duck stamp from their check. That would eliminate the inconvenience argument.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I have two thoughts;
first: I would love to live off the land. To survive by hunting and fishing. But I have to buy a license for what ever I go hunt or fish, why should they get to just go do it?
Second: The goverment has made it to where a person can't just excape to the wild and live off the land. Why shouldn't they or anyone else be allowed to do this. I have always thought if I was a homeless person I would go in the mountains, but the goverment wouldn't let this happen.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

And I agree we give them money every month, take it out of that if they really want the money. Its funny though how every thing comes down to money

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nwild wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

We've seen abuses of fish stocking programs for commercial gain in the lower 48 states. But these people have never wasted a scrap of wild game...ever. Natives should be left to themselves as far as game goes on their own land. Its the least they deserve for 500 years of getting crapped on.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I know I'll probably get burned for this answer but, yes they do need to buy stamps. they are using the natural resources that are available to them as to us, and anyways how many ducks will you be shooting if you are substinence hunting to stay alive. The matter of the fact is they are shooting ducks just like everyone else and should be under the same jurisdiction.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report

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