Bobby v. Alaska: 1989


The case established that state subsistence regulations (seasons, catch limits, etc) had to be consistent with local, customary, and traditional subsistence uses and that regulatory restrictions had to result in the minimum adverse impact possible upon rural residents' customary and traditional uses.

Richard Caulfield:

This case emerged in the Athabaskan Indian community of Lime Village in southwest Alaska and challenged the appropriateness of Euroamerican wildlife management tools used for regulating hunting by Alaska Natives. The court criticized the typically conservative approach of wildlife managers in which moose or caribou hunting is generally closed unless specifically allowed for in season. The court also said that closed seasons and individual bag limits for moose and caribou were inconsistent with customary and traditional hunting patterns, and that Natives communally share their resources, so individual bag limits isn't appropriate for them. The court ruled taht moose and caribou seasons for Lime Village hunters should generally be open unless closed for biological reasons.

Craig Madrid of the Anchorage Daily News:

This suit was filed after Bobby was charged with hunting out of season. The residents of Lime Village must be allowed to continue to hunt and fish at customary and traditional times, and the regulations must ensure that the subsistence needs of Lime Village are met before those of other fisherman and hunters. Some Natives were disappointed that the judge wanted to substitute other regulations--regulations and bag limits aren't appropriate to subsistence lifestyle. Seasons and bag limits have been implemented to regulate sport hunting. Bill Caldwell, representing Bobby, argued that, "The subsistence hunter who is without meat during a closed season or who has with his family consumed a fixed bag limit will go hungry unless some other game or fish are available and in season. Hunger knows nothing of seasons, nor is it satisfied for long after one's bag limit has been consumed."

Dick and Mary Bishop:

"The Federal District Court ruling in Bobby v. State which says that regulations must match whatever is "customary and traditional" use -- without regard to need for the resource or shortage of the resource. "C & T" use can only be restricted in order to
maintain sustained yield; all other uses must be eliminated before "c & t" use can be restricted."

Taylor Brelsford: "In the Bobby case, the Federal District Court held that in implementing the subsistence priority, the Board of Game may impose regulations, such as seasons and bag limits only when the record shows a biological (or conservation) justification for such restrictions. In the case at hand, the Court held that the Board of Game had imposed a closed season on moose in the Lime Village area without the necessary justification on the record."


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