This Comment critiques the court of appeals’ statutory interpretation of Alaska’s hunting laws in Kinmon v. State and proposes legislative reform to correct those judicially created errors. Kinmon arose from a series of hunts between 2009 and 2011 during which nonresident hunters did not pay for their big game tags until after the completion of their hunts. The guide leading these hunts was charged with violating section 16.05.340(a)(15) of the Alaska Statutes, which prohibits nonresidents from hunting big game without “previously purchasing” a big game tag. The Alaska Court of Appeals held in favor of the guide, reasoning that “previously purchasing” was ambiguous and could be understood to permit purchase of a big game tag after a hunt. This reading of the statute is faulty under the plain meaning canon of statutory construction and has deleterious policy implications. To address this error, this Comment proposes a legislative amendment to section 16.06.340(a)(15) of the Alaska Statutes to clarify that “previously purchasing” a game tag requires purchase prior to a hunt.
Brendan McGuire & Cormac Bloomfield,
Avoiding the Obvious: Plain Meaning and the Endangerment of Alaska’s Hunting Laws in Kinmon v. State,
37 Alaska Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/alr/vol37/iss1/7