Washington Post On Supreme Court-Winning Alaska Hunter


John Sturgeon, an Alaska hunter, made national news when he took his fight to use a hovercraft to hunt on public land. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court, a playing field that he won on. But as this week’s Washington Post lengthy profile explains, it was an expensive but satisfying victory that got a lot of attention and support for Sturgeon from some heavy hitters:

Why a warning? Because Sturgeon’s 12-year, only-in-Alaska battle to travel on a forbidden hovercraft through national parkland to his favorite hunting spot cost well north of $1.5 million.

“I had no idea how much it was going to cost, but you start down this slide and there’s no stopping it,” Sturgeon said. “Not many people could do what I did, because they don’t have the financial resources, which I don’t either. But I did have a cause that really ignited people.”… 

Among his donors: the Alaska Wildlife and Conservation Fund, the National Rifle Association, the Alaska Conservative Trust, national and international hunting groups, hundreds of ordinary Alaskans and one very wealthy one.

Edward Rasmuson read about Sturgeon’s case, called him up and found him sincere, and then offered to help pay the legal bill. “I maybe gave $250,000 to $300,000 to $400,000 – hell, I don’t know,” Rasmuson said in an interview. “But I’m fortunate. I’m wealthy, I can afford it.”

The story is a long one, but it’s definitely a fascinating read.