By Sgt. David Bump
I was working on the Steese Highway a couple weekends ago for the popular RC867 Winter Fortymile Caribou Hunt when I encountered several violations regarding military licenses, residency and permits. For background, the designation of RC shows this to be a registration caribou hunt, meaning a person needs a registration permit to be eligible to hunt this herd. This permit, unlike its fall equivalent (RC860), is only open to residents of Alaska.
A common violation unique to any registration hunt is when hunters harvest caribou or moose under the general harvest ticket. This is one reason troopers check licenses and tags prior to someone harvesting an animal, to ensure the proper license/tag/ticket/permit were obtained. Another violation is non-resident military license holders hunting during this resident-only hunt. This situation brings me to December’s topic: military licenses and bag limits.
If an applicant has made a permanent change of station (PCS) to Alaska and has been here under a year, the applicant is not eligible to get an Alaska resident license, period. There is no such category as “close enough” in this realm. However, active-duty Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy and Army personnel and dependents stationed in Alaska who have not achieved Alaska residency are able to apply for special military non-resident hunting and sport fishing licenses at the same price as Alaska residents. Non-resident military licensees can obtain a locking tag for goat and sheep at no cost and a locking tag for brown bear for $25. However, non-resident military licensees must still be accompanied by a guide or second-degree of kindred when hunting goat, sheep and brown bear. This is the same as for any non-resident. Non-resident military licensees still have the same bag limit as non-residents and do not qualify for Alaska resident-only hunts such as the RC867 or RM785 (registration moose permit for an antlerless moose in the Minto Flats Management Area.)
Alaska residents who are active members of the Alaska National Guard or active reservists in any of the five military reserve units, honorably discharged veterans or members of the Alaska Territorial Guard who qualify for disability of
50 percent or greater may fill out an application with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to receive a free resident hunting and sport fishing license.
Another scenario unique to military personnel is the option of maintaining Alaska residency if there is an involuntary transfer out of Alaska. This scenario is rather lengthy to explain. A person in this situation would be better off just calling a wildlife trooper for clarification.
This is a good time to remind everyone that hunting and fishing licenses expire at the end of December.
Sgt. David Bump is an Alaska Wildlife Trooper stationed in Fairbanks and can be reached by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 451-5348.