In Kodiak right now, if you’re on the road system you can’t harvest eggs or hunt migratory birds. That’s because there’s been a policy in place since 2003 to protect the island’s bird populations. Now there’s an effort to understand past and present subsistence habits which could potentially help lift the ban.
If you live on the road system in Kodiak and want to hunt migratory birds or gather their eggs, you can’t. Unless you have a boat.
“Fuel prices, boat prices, even you know a trailer too. It’s expensive to live here and a lot of people don’t have those resources to be able to go out.”
That’s Kelly Krueger, a biologist for the Sun’aq tribe and the facilitator for the Kodiak Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council.
“They’d much rather drive a few minutes down the road and get something for dinner.”
The reason you can’t do this is because of a regulation established in the early 2000’s. It restricts this subsistence practice in the spring and summer along the road. Krueger says, the way to get eggs or birds if you’re on the road system is to hit the high seas.
“People have to go 500ft offshore with a boat to harvest eggs or birds. You can’t get out of your car on the highway and shoot birds. It’s illegal.”
The Kodiak Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council’s road committee is conducting a survey to get a sense of how many people gather eggs and what they did before the restriction. This could help them figure out if Kodiak’s bird population is threatened.
“So what we’re trying to do is see if we could some how change the regulations for people to be able to hunt and gather eggs from the road system.”
For now, residents will have to wait till the fall sport hunting season to go on the road system to hunt birds, except for the Emperor Goose. The survey is available to Kodiak residents online at the Sun’aq tribe website and there are paper copies available as well. The road committee hopes to complete this survey later this year. ear.
Correction: This piece originally stated that there was a fall subsistence hunt for migratory birds along Kodiak’s road system and that all migratory birds could be hunted at that time. There is only a fall sport hunting season on Kodiak and the Emperor Goose is not included in that hunt.
Kelly Krueger, the biologist for the Sun’aq tribe, pointed out these mistakes via email.