Outdoors

Outdoors briefs: Tribes file suit over hunting rights

SPOKANE -- The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation have filed a federal lawsuit claiming state wildlife officers routinely violate the hunting rights of tribal members in an area that was once part of the reservation.

Colville Tribal Chairman Michael Finley told the Wenatchee World that many tribal members have stopped fishing and hunting on the "North Half" because they feel harassed by state enforcement officers.

The tribal government claims its members have the right to hunt and fish in the area under tribal -- not state -- laws.

The tribes sued the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recently in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

The North Half is north of the Colville Indian Reservation and includes about 1.5 million acres of mostly public land between the Okanogan and Columbia rivers to Canada.

Colville tribal leaders retained hunting and fishing rights there when the land was sold back to the federal government for $1 an acre in 1891.

Alaska to refund nearly $70M in fishing fees

JUNEAU, Alaska -- Fishermen from outside Alaska can expect nearly $70 million in refunds for commercial fishing license fees the Alaska Supreme Court says were unconstitutionally high.

More than 11,000 license holders were reviewed by the state, which determined that more than 4,000 overpaid their fees and were due refunds amounting to $68.3 million.

While some amounts are relatively small, many are for thousands of dollars and one is for more than $162,000.

Meanwhile, Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan has called a $21 million attorney fee request by Juneau lawyer Loren Domke "borderline outrageous."

Domke represents the fishermen and is seeking legal fees on top of the refunds.

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