Guam - The increase in military presence at Andersen Air Force Base is changing the rules for local hunters who have been using the federal property for years. A public hearing will be held this evening at the University of Guam, informing hunters of what is still allowed and what's not.

Local hunters are frustrated that they will no longer be allowed to hunt in areas in and around Andersen AFB, specifically at Nortwest Field and on the Yigo military installation. "Those areas have been designated as a no hunt area," said Department of Agriculture conservation enforcement section supervisor Mike Reyes, adding that feedback from the hunting community hasn't been very positive. "They are not too happy with the idea that a lot of these areas that were once open for general hunting are now closed and that the archery areas are limiting the amount of public hunters that can utilize the area. Since a lot of people are firearms hunters.

"Agriculture was never advised and comments or recommendations were never sought from Agriculture itself, so this is something new to us that we are hearing."

Reyes says previously the main base, Northwest Field and portions of the archery area adjacent to NCTAMS was fair game for public hunters, but that's all changed. "I do believe they have a concern about safety issues, people in the area as well as equipment as well as structures; they just didn't want to run the chance of someone being hurt or equipment and buildings being damaged," said Reyes.

Andersen officials tell KUAM News public archery hunting was tailored this season to accommodate upcoming exercises and training missions at Northwest Field. According to Reyes, those changes include the types of weapons that hunters are allowed to use. "Strictly archery, there is no more firearms hunting of AAFB," he said.

Reyes adds agriculture is concerned about what the outcome and impacts may be. "By not allowing hunters to go in and take care of the size of the herds, the pig and deer itself, this allows the herds to increase unchecked. It's probably going to cause them a lot of more damage to their real estate," he said.

The Air Force has not yet stated what its plans are to control the wild life population on the base. In the meantime, deer hunting season resumes October 6 in the designated archery area. The Air Force is hosting hunter safety briefings tonight and every Thursday at the UOG's Natural and Applied Science Building in Room 127 at 6:30pm.

Hunters can also contact the base chief conservation office Jeremy Adams at 366-2549 for more information on the hunting changes.