USFWS
Marine Mammals Management
Alaska Region

 

Pacific Walrus Hunting and Handicrafting

 

Before Hunting

Who may harvest Pacific walruses in Alaska
Alaska Native peoples who reside in Alaska and dwell on the coast may harvest Pacific walruses for subsistence and handicraft purposes. Because the harvest must be accomplished in a non-wasteful manner, taking walrus only for their ivory is not allowed

During the Hunt

Where you can hunt
The Marine Mammal Protection Act does not limit the areas of Alaska where Pacific walruses may be harvested. However, there may be some areas with hunting or access restrictions, such as National Parks, state game sanctuaries, or private land.  Some Tribal Governments have written and are implementing Pacific walrus hunting ordinances that apply to their citizens.  Additionally, some areas have state or local ordinances limiting where firearms can be discharged.

How many Pacific walruses can you harvest and what methods are allowed
There is no federal harvest limit for Pacific walruses provided that harvest does not result in the waste of a substantial portion of the animal. There are no restrictions on the methods in which walruses may be taken provided that it is likely to assure the capture or killing and that a reasonable effort is made to retrieve the walrus.  The hunting of Pacific walruses on the Round Island within the Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary is an exception where a season and a quota have been established through a co-management agreement with the Qayassig Walrus Commission, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. In addition, some areas or Tribal Governments may have local ordinances, and we encourage you to check with the appropriate Tribal Government prior to hunting. 

After the Hunt

Tag your Harvest
Hunters must have their raw Pacific walrus tusks tagged by a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service tagger within 30 days of harvest. There are one or more taggers in most coastal villages, National Wildlife Refuge offices, and in Anchorage.  If more than one Pacific walrus is taken for tagging at the same time, hunters must match the tusks with the correct hunt location, date, sex, etc. The tags must stay on the tusks for as long as practical during the handcrafting process.  Tagging is a management tool which gives biologists information about the animals and where they are being taken.  To find the closest tagger or to get answers about tagging contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Marking, Tagging and Reporting program by:

Selling Pacific Walrus Parts

Selling to Alaska Native Peoples
Unaltered Pacific walrus parts (including tusks) may be sold or traded to other qualifying Alaska Native peoples (50 CFR Part 18.3 Definitions) or to a registered agent for resale to other qualifying Alaska Native peoples. 

Selling to Non- Alaska Native Peoples
Pacific walrus parts must be significantly altered into an authentic Native handicraft, by an Alaska Native person, in order for them to be sold to non- Alaska Native peoples.

Authentic Native Handicrafts
Alaska Native artisans are not limited in their use of walrus ivory or other parts in the creation of handicrafts.  However, the items must be significantly altered in order to be considered authentic Native handicrafts and enter into commercial trade. See the Indian Arts and Crafts Board brochure for examples of significantly altered walrus ivory.

Transporting Pacific Walrus Parts or Products across International Boundaries

The Pacific walrus is listed on Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Because of this status a CITES Certificate of Origin may be required to travel outside of the United States with handicrafts or other items that contain walrus ivory.  Because some countries may not allow Pacific walrus handicrafts without CITES documents it is best to contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife import/export office in Anchorage at (907) 271-6198.

Additionally, because of restrictions under the Marine Mammal Protection Act the Commercial export of handicrafts that contain Pacific walrus ivory or other parts is not allowed.

For more information:

 

Last updated: July 2017