(CN) – An Alaskan hunter cannot kill more than one caribou per year, the state’s highest court ruled.
Kenneth Manning sued Alaska and its Department of Fish & Game, challenging its regulations on caribou hunting.
In 2010, the Board of Game limited subsistence caribou hunting in the Nelchina basin to one caribou per individual, or one caribou per member of a community of 25 or more.
Manning’s sought an injunction to keep the state from implementing the regulations. The trial court ruled that the state did not violate the public trust doctrine and that the regulations were constitutional.
Manning appealed, but the Alaska Supreme Court upheld the decision in a ruling written by Justice Daniel Winfree.
He agreed with the lower court that the caribou restrictions were not arbitrary.
“The Board’s subsistence definition applies equally to all of Alaska’s citizens,” Winfree wrote. “According the Board’s ANS (amount reasonably necessary for subsistence) calculation does not implicate, nor violate, the equal access, uniform application, or equal protection clauses of the Alaska Constitution.”
He added that the Board reasonably calculated the yearly ANS to be between 600 and 1,000 caribou.
“The Board reviewed extensive evidence on long-term harvest, customary and traditional use patterns, and caribou population trends,” Winfree wrote, “and it considered a number of proposals for defining subsistence uses of Nelchina caribou in making its ANS determination.”
The Alaska Supreme Court remanded the case for a recalculation of the attorney fees to be awarded to the state.
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