Alaska Game Board approves using dogs to hunt coyotes

FAIRBANKS — Hunters trying to kill coyotes in the Delta Junction area will have a new tool to assist them starting July 1.

The Alaska Board of Game on Monday approved the use of dogs to assist in the hunting of coyotes.

Some board members expressed puzzlement about how dogs would be useful for hunting coyotes but narrowly approved the rule, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Coyotes are about one-third the size of wolves. They entered southeast Alaska in the early 20th Century and gradually moved north, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The Delta Junction Fish and Game Advisory Committee sought the rule change. Numbers of coyotes are high despite liberal hunting seasons, the committee said.

“Those who will benefit are hunters who wish to hunt coyotes with dogs and hunters of small game that are preyed upon by coyotes,” the proposal said.

Asked how dogs could be used to hunt coyotes, Alaska Wildlife Troopers Lt. Paul Fussey, the board’s law enforcement liaison, said he was aware of three techniques. Scent hounds track prey by smell, sight hounds see and chase prey, and female dogs in heat can attract coyotes, he said.

The Alaska Trappers Association expressed concern that hunting coyotes with dogs could interfere with trapping.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s analyzed the proposed rule and concluded dogs likely would not be widely used for hunting coyotes. Dogs are heavily used for hunting upland birds and waterfowl.

Board members approved the rule change 5-2. Teresa Sager Albaugh of Tok and Larry Van Daele of Kodiak voted no.

“It’s narrowed down. It’s a very small area. It’ll be a good experiment; we can learn something from it,” said board chairman Ted Spraker.