The committee sought the rule change due to the high numbers of coyotes despite the area’s liberal hunting seasons and bag limits. “If adopted, there will be an increase in the quality of coyotes harvested in prime condition and in the opportunity to hunt coyotes. If nothing is done, coyote hunting will continue to be underutilized,” the proposal states. “Those who will benefit are hunters who wish to hunt coyotes with dogs and hunters of small game that are preyed upon by coyotes.”
While the Alaska Board of Game approved the proposal by a vote of five to two, some board members questioned how dogs would be beneficial in hunting coyotes. According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, when asked, the board’s law enforcement liaison, Alaska Wildlife Trooper Lt. Paul Fussey, said he had knowledge of three techniques in which dogs can be used to hunt coyotes. These included using scent hounds to track prey by smell, sight hounds to see and chase prey, and female dogs in heat to attract coyotes.
The proposal requested allowing the use of dogs to hunt coyotes in all of Game Management Unit 20 but ultimately was narrowed down to affect only the Delta Junction area’s Subunit 20D. “It’ll be a good experiment; we can learn something from it,” said Chairman Ted Spraker, as reported by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Hopefully, they will learn that the use of dogs to assist in hunting coyotes is ultimately beneficial and will expand the rule to include the rest of the state—but this is a positive start.