Bison Map

Map courtesy of Shannon Blue of Ahtna Inc.

Last month, Ahtna announced that they would no longer be issuing land access permits for bison hunting. 

Recently, they clarified that trespassing and lack of assistance in dealing with said trespassing was the primary reason behind that decision.

“For many years Ahtna, Incorporated has authorized access to cross its lands to accommodate state bison hunt permits,” said Ahtna Corporate Communications Director Shannon Blue via email. 

“Ahtna is experiencing increasing hunting pressure and trespass on our private lands. The state provides no meaningful trespass enforcement and no land management coordination with private landowners when it opens up areas for hunting,” Blue continued. 

“Ahtna has been trying to work with the state on these issues for years to no avail. The cultural and traditional needs of the Ahtna people are not being considered.”

Blue went on to state that Ahtna has limited resources and that their primary mission is to “protect and preserve Ahtna lands and resources for future generations of the Ahtna people.”

Blue’s email clarified that this will apply to non-shareholders. 

Ahtna will also cease the issuing of predator control permits within the respective bison hunt areas. 

The email did state that there is public access to bison hunting areas outside of Ahtna’s private lands. 

“The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS) and the State of Alaska have catalogs of public access routes,” read Blue’s email.

According to their mission statement, “Ahtna, Incorporated is an Alaska Native Regional Corporation formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, and is based out of Glennallen, Alaska.” 

The company currently has over 2,100 shareholders, the majority of whom are of Ahtna Athabascan descent, and employs more than 1,300 people worldwide.

The official announcement that Ahtna would cease issuing land access permits for bison hunting was sent out via a press release on May 18th. 

At that time, the release only stated that Ahtna would cease issuing land access permits and predator control permits in association with Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Permit Nos. DI 450 & DI 454.

According to the original release from Ahtna sent out on May 18th, “Ahtna land use permits on other lands for predator control hunting and recreational activities such as fishing, hiking and camping are available at www.ahtna.com/land-permits. An Ahtna Region land app is available for download that clearly shows property boundaries and public and private land ownership in the area to help visitors plan accordingly.”

The map to the right, provided by Blue, shows the bison hunting boundary and the various land owners within that boundary.

Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.