Hunting discounts for nonresident students passes House


On Monday, the Alaska House passed House Bill 120, a significant achievement for freshman House Rep. Frank Tomaszewski, a Republican of Fairbanks. The bill introduces a new provision allowing non-resident students to obtain hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses at a discounted cost. This legislation maintains existing regulations and tag fees without any changes.

The bill passed with a vote of 36-4, with Republican Reps. David Eastman and Sarah Vance, and Democrat Reps. Sara Hannan and Andy Josephson voting no.

Over the past several decades, hunting and personal use fishing have experienced a decline, resulting in a reduction in funding for conservation efforts. To address this issue, various federal statutes such as the Pittman-Robertson Act, Dingell-Johnson Act, and Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act have tied conservation funding to excise taxes on items like firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, and fishing gear.

Subsequently, the revenue generated from these taxes is allocated to state fish and game departments to support vital conservation and management initiatives. Alaska, in its commitment to conservation, matches this funding through revenue derived from hunting and fishing licenses.

Rep. Tomaszewski emphasized the importance of fostering a love for hunting, fishing, and trapping among the younger generation to safeguard Alaska’s cultural heritage and conservation endeavors.

“We cannot overlook the direct connection between our hunters and our ability to conserve. Encouraging younger individuals to partake in these splendid outdoor activities is paramount,” he said.

By reducing the cost of licenses for non-resident students, the bill encourages their participation in these activities, especially considering the financial burdens already borne by many students due to college expenses.

The bill is now in the Senate for consideration.


  1. This is the best way to add money to the coffers of our government on the backs of our wild animals.

  2. I used to Trap, caught a Wolverine in a Conibear body trap, 3 twists , it was dead, small pregnant female, made me sick, I realized there is no money in trapping and its a very dirty sport ;-( Lazy trappers these days set traps right next to the trails, usually catching somebody’s Dog.

    • If you don’t make a little money at trapping, then you obviously aren’t working hard enough. Perhaps YOU were the lazy trapper?

    • If you use the convey to catch and hold a wolverine, you must have been using a 330. I only used those underwater for Beaver. I prefer snares myself because they can be regulated depending on the snow depth. Wolverines at 2 to $300 a piece and you’re complaining you didn’t because you didn’t make money? What did you do trap out of the back of your Subaru?

    • Third Generation Alaskan,
      There are measures one can take to minimize catching animals beyond the targeted furbearers. Measures include the use of ” killer” traps elevated above the ground by using buckets and pole sets. Additionally, knowing when to pull your traps helps. Males , especially Martin are more aggressive and come to your set easily, when you begin catching females it’s time to yank for the season.

      BTW, I talked to a Gentleman a couple of months back, lives in Northwest Alaska. He grossed 54 k on his trapline last year. It’s good to be able to earn a living , wouldn’t you agree?

  3. Not surprisingly Representative Eastman votes against a bill that supports rugged individualism, less taxation, and promotes self sustainability in our youth. When will the people of his district vote for an actual conservative?

  4. “……..a significant achievement for freshman House Rep. Frank Tomaszewski……..”
    Yeah, this ought to rank right up there with a solution to the subsistence morass and PFD Wars.

    • No kidding, like there aren’t enough important issues for our representatives to be paying attention to. Priorities, people, priorities!!!

  5. While I applaud the ambition, why on earth are our legislative representatives wasting the peoples time on bills such as this? How about we get our financial house in order first? Or perhaps we could fix our loose and possibly rigged election system? My guess is that most of these folks don’t actually work for their constituents.

  6. Living in this body needing food good to to learn how to gather and process food items just in case a national or global collaspe.

    • He trapped a wolverine and didn’t have the stomach for it. You can’t trap a moose or a deer. Good that non-resident students don’t have to pay the $500 or so for a hunting license for out of staters. They’re up here spending money, contributing to the economy of Alaska long term, they should be able to reap some of the rewards.

  7. IDK about a great achievement but this doesn’t add anymore parasites to the PFD and may encourage more non-res students to get outside. Perhaps a few might be enticed to remain as residents.

  8. Yet again, the legislature takes steps to take the advantage out of living here.

    But they have no problem looking for ways to force more of us to leave.

  9. Why pass laws we don’t have any plan to enforce? Asking someone to pay $400 more for a license when it’s all on the honor system is asking for trouble.

    Instead of passing a new law, perhaps a resolution encouraging hunting, trapping and fishing would have been more apropos. As written, the new law would allow you to get the $400 discount just by saying you’re a student, with no proof required. No age limit. No residency requirement. No student ID required. Just ask for the discounted license, tell them you’re a student, and they’ll give it to you. I can’t imagine how that could possibly go wrong.

  10. David Eastman, what you wrote is disingenuous at best. What stops any person from claiming residency on a fishing license at Fred Meyer? Answer….AS 16.05.440-16.05.660 provides penalties for falsifications on fishing licenses, up to a $1000 fine, six months in jail, and loss of ability to fish for three years. Would it be more productive to use your knowledge to unite like minded individuals instead of driving a wedge between us? It is not too late to work together as a team, only you have the power make that happen. My door is always open…

    • I would encourage you to review the three fiscal notes from the Department of Fish and Game for your bill.

      You can find them here:

      The fiscal impact of your bill is rated at $0 because the department has indicated it does not plan to do any work to draft regulations to enforce your bill.

      I am referring specifically to the portion wherein the department declares: “The department can administratively create the new license without the need to adopt regulations. Instead of creating regulations for proof of enrollment or other continuing eligibility requirements, applicants would certify they meet the legal requirements of being enrolled as a half‐time or full‐time student attending a qualifying postsecondary institution as defined in statute.”

      The reason the bill is rated at a zero fiscal impact is because they are not planning to even draft regulations to enforce a requirement to show student status at the time the license is given to the individual. The other reason the bill is rated as having zero fiscal impact is explained by this language which is found in all three fiscal notes:

      “Current license applications do not require an applicant to identify if they are enrolled as a half‐time or full‐time student. Without that information, it is difficult for the department to determine the actual fiscal impact. The department assumes there is a minimal number of nonresidents attending a qualifying institution in Alaska that would be eligible for this new license. The loss of license revenue for the Division of Wildlife Conservation and Division of Sport Fish, along with the additional workload for Division of Administrative Services to process the applications, would be de minimis. Therefore, the department expects minimal fiscal impact and submits a zero fiscal note.”

      In other words, they aren’t sure, but they don’t expect many people will be using this new license option, so it won’t cost the state any additional money to issue, process or enforce licenses that almost no one will be using, and the state won’t lose any revenue from discounted licenses that aren’t being sold.

      A charitable view is that your bill will have a minimal impact on the lives of Alaskans. However, if it does have a significant impact it will likely be because it is being used in ways that it is not supposed to be used.

      Examples that come to mind include:
      1) Non-resident Non-students claiming student status since there is no requirement to prove student status at the time that the license is issued. They don’t have to claim to be a resident since an Alabama address will do.

      2) Non-resident students claiming student status even though their school is out of state or otherwise ineligible for the discounted rate under the law. It is difficult to prove fraud when they answered honestly that they were a student, and perhaps thought that they were eligible. After all, why wouldn’t a “non-resident student” be eligible for a “non-resident student” license?

      3) Individuals using the discounted license after they are no longer students since the only option under your bill is for an individual to be issued a license for the entire calendar year, regardless of whether they have graduated or are no longer attending classes. Rather than making it easier for them to continue to be non-residents, the better answer in most cases would be to simply encourage them to become Alaska residents.

      No additional resources are being allocated to enforce this new law under these (or any) circumstances. Could someone still get caught somehow and prosecuted for fraud? Sure. It’s possible. Just like it’s possible that residents above the poverty line could get caught using the $5 low income license. But how often does that happen? If the state allocates $0 towards enforcement, I would not expect to see many convictions for the $1K fine and the six months in jail you mentioned. A key difference between the low income license and a non-resident student license is that in the first case you are talking about something that is designed to benefit Alaska residents, and in the second case you are talking about something that is designed to benefit non-residents and actually DISCOURAGES them from becoming residents.

      Today, a student can gain the benefit of the resident license by becoming an Alaska resident. If they are going to be here for four years already, why wouldn’t we want to encourage them to do that? Your bill allows them to gain the benefits (price and length) of a resident license without actually becoming a resident.

      More importantly, you traded regulations and enforcements in exchange for a zero fiscal note to make it more likely that your bill would get passed. That was a trade you made. Maybe it made sense at the time. But why criticize someone for pointing out the lack of an enforcement plan?

      • Rep; Eastman; I agree.
        Also State of Alaska has mismanaged Fish and game for decades and not in favor of sustained Fish and Game populations.
        Alaska Constitution says that all Alaska’s resources have to be used for the maximum benefit of Alaskans., or words to that effect.

      • Thanks for linking the fiscal notes as you can see they are a ZERO cost to the state. We do not need to spend more State resources enforcement, especially when the Dept. of Fish and Game are not requesting it.

        Yes we probably wont see many convictions…Who in their right mind would commit fraud, face jail time, fines, and loss of hunting rights and possibly their PFD, to save a couple hundred bucks?

        The state doesn’t need to draft new regulations because they already exist as quoted in my past message, here they are again Alaska Statute 16.05.440-16.05.660

        Nothing was traded for this bill, it was encouraged by those who promote the fishing/hunting lifestyle and I was happy to sponsor it. It certainly is not perfect, however a least it is an attempt to help a good cause. It may not attract many to the Hunting and Fishing lifestyle, but it does promote it in a positive way.

        This is my first Sponsored Bill passed in the House of Representatives, on my 112th day in office.
        Thanks to all those reading this, If you have any questions feel free to contact me at, [email protected].

  11. Our representatives hard at work looking out for non-residents. Kind of reminiscent of how Democrats spend so much time making sure illegals get everything they want while ignoring the rest of us.

  12. Rep Eastman,
    With respect, FWP Troopers seem to have a pretty good track record of checking out new licensee’s. I would expect they will exercise similar diligence going forward. Please correct me if this would fall beyond their purview,
    FWIW, 3rd Gen cheerleading for you may not be the best thing. Just sayin’.

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