Last year on April 3, 2017 President Trump signed into law House Joint Resolution 69, H.J. Res. 69, that repealed 2016 Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regulations making generally illegal some of the most egregious hunting practices on 76.8 million acres of land on Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. Except in cases of federally qualified subsistence users, the regulations prohibited:
a. Taking black or brown bear cubs or sows with cubs (exception allowed for resident hunters under customary and traditional use activities at a den site October 15-April 30 in specific game management units in accordance with State law);
b. Taking brown bears by luring them with bait for a point blank kill;
c. Taking of bears using cruel leghold or other traps or snares;
d. Taking wolves and coyotes during the denning season (May 1-August 9);
e. Taking bears from an aircraft or on the same day as air travel has occurred. (A similar regulation already applied to wolves or wolverines.)
In repealing the regulations by federal statute, the Congress and Trump Administration made it impossible for FWS to re-issue the regulations under a later administration. Instead, it will take another federal statute to make these activities illegal on Alaska National Refuges to the extent they are not prohibited by state law.