ADF&G issues warning about unsafe hunting in Juneau

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is warning local waterfowl hunters to be safe after a report of someone firing shots toward the runway at the Juneau Airport.

Area Management Biologist Ryan Scott says the hunters were allegedly not on the nearby Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge.

“A couple things there,” says Scott. “One, it’s obviously not very safe to be shooting that direction. Two, during the waterfowl season, waterfowl hunters can use a shotgun to hunt ducks and geese on the refuge, but you’ve got to be on the refuge.”

Scott says the incident is under investigation. He’s not aware of any pending charges at this point.

The waterfowl hunting season stretches from mid-September to the end of the year. Since 2003, Scott says the department has required a permit to hunt on the Mendenhall refuge.

“The purpose of that permit was so that we could have some time with the hunter, explain some of the issues and concerns out there, and then provide them with the information to make sure folks make good decisions out there,” Scott says. “I would say 99.9 percent of the waterfowl hunters utilizing the refuge use very good, safe hunting practices. But it could just take a couple things and it could really reflect negatively on everybody.”

Scott says about 300 people apply for permits every year, making it one of the most popular hunts in Juneau.