Thousands of Nelchina basin hunting permits ruled invalid

Posted: Sunday, July 22, 2007

ANCHORAGE - Thousands of moose and caribou hunting permits for the Nelchina basin have been ruled invalid by a Superior Court judge in Anchorage.

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The ruling Friday by Judge Jack Smith said the state improperly used income as the sole factor in determining the eligibility of many hunters. It was in response to a lawsuit filed by village councils, tribal organizations and four hunters.

The applications will be rescored if the ruling stands and a new list of permit winners should be ready by Friday, according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The state might appeal, said Steve Schwartz, permit hunt administrator.

The Nelchina caribou hunt is one of the state's most sought-after subsistence hunts. Located in the basin north and east of Anchorage near Southcentral highways, it offers relatively easy access. Tens of thousands of people have applied in the past.

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