Governor Proposes How Certain Hunting, Fishing Violations Should Be Enforced

ADFG file photo
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker wants certain fishing and hunting offenses to be considered more like traffic violations than criminal prosecutions. 
(James Brooks photo)

Alaska Governor Bill Walker introduced a bill that would impact some anglers and hunters charged with certain offenses.

The Fairbanks News-Miner has more on Walker’s suggestions regarding how the violations would be enforced:

Some Alaska hunting and fishing violations would become more like traffic tickets than criminal prosecutions under a bill introduced at the request of Gov. Bill Walker.

Walker’s bill follows a trend in Alaska law of moving some misdemeanor-level crimes to the lesser “violation” category.

“A criminal conviction is not always appropriate, nor is it necessarily the best outcome for the state or the offender,” Walker wrote in a letter transmitting the bill last spring. “By creating the option of a violation where the offender acts without any culpable mental state, prosecutors and law enforcement can more appropriately enforce the state’s fish and game laws while maximizing public use and enjoyment.”

House Bill 129 passed through the House Resources Committee and is scheduled for a hearing at the House Judiciary Committee today. The Judiciary Committee is the second and final committee that House Speaker Bryce Edgmon assigned it to.

The bill addresses a number of other hunting and fishing rules. It seeks to increase fines for commercial fishing violations and for the offense of unlawfully taking an animal. The fine for illegally taking a bison, for example, would more than double to $3,000. The bill would also allow the state to charge larger fines for hunters and fishermen who fail to buy licenses.