- A big-game guide regulatory board would be resurrected, under
a bill making its way through the Legislature.
Bill 303 would reinstitute the Big Game Commercial Services
Board, which oversaw hunting guides until the Legislature allowed
it to dissolve almost a decade ago.
chair Rep. Ralph Samuels, R-Anchorage, introduced the bill based
on a state audit showing that oversight of the industry has
slackened since the board was dissolved.
are a world-class hunting destination. People spend a lifetime
of savings to come up here to go hunting," he told the
Senate Resources Committee in a February hearing. "We should
protect both our reputation and the resource."
1973 to 1995, the Guide Licensing and Control Board - later
renamed the Big Game Commercial Services Board - was in charge
of regulating the activities of guides and transporters, who
are responsible for getting hunters to hunt sites.
the Legislature declined to renew the board, the regulation
of the state's roughly 550 guides and 230 transporters fell
under the jurisdiction of the state Division of Occupational
Licensing and various federal agencies.
system hasn't worked well, according to Joe Clutch, president
of the Alaska Professional Hunters Association. Under the present
system, Clutch said, there is a "huge communication disconnect"
between all the parties involved that could be alleviated through
see the board, and the board process, as a great forum for interaction
between the members of the industry, both guiding and transporting,
and the various agencies, state and federal," he said.
of the bill point to other problems with the current setup.
When the board was dissolved, a number of guiding standards
were lessened. Under current law, no written contracts are required
for guides or transporters, and the state has no power to punish
a guide who misleads a client or breaches a contract. Clients
who feel cheated have no recourse but legal action.
bill would create a seven-member big game board, with two members
employed as guides, one who is a licensed transporter, one Board
of Game member, two members who represent private landholders
affected by guiding and one public member. The board would oversee
guide and transporter examinations and licensing and would draft
regulations overseeing the guiding industry.
versions of the big game board bill were introduced in the House
and Senate. The House version has shown little movement, but
the Senate version has been moved out of one committee and is
under consideration by the Senate Finance Committee.