FAIRBANKS (AP) -- In the subsistence hunting tradition, one or two skilled hunters often kill enough moose and caribou for an entire village.
Recognizing that, the Alaska Board of Game has approved an experimental program to establish a community subsistence harvest in the Interior village of Chalkyitsik. It will be the first of its kind in the state.
''People in these communities often have one hunter that hunts for the whole community, but we've never had a way to accommodate that,'' Game Board chairwoman Lori Quakenbush said.
Under the new program, people can choose to pool their individual bag limits -- one bull moose each in the area around Chalkyitsik -- to allow a few hunters to harvest multiple moose from a designated area. Or they can hunt for themselves.
Those who participate in the community harvest give up their right to hunt moose.
If the program works in Chalkyitsik the Game Board could later set up similar programs for other small, rural areas.
Quakenbush said the program may not work so well in less remote or larger areas where there are more hunters.
State game managers hope the program will lead to more accurate harvest reporting because those who kill more than one bull moose will now feel free to report it. The village will also take part in regulating the hunt by keeping track of the hunters and how much game they kill.
''It recognizes an existing practice and brings it into the state system,'' said Wayne Regelin, director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation.
While the idea is to allow rural communities to hunt as they would traditionally, any group can apply for a community hunt, according to Fish and Game.
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