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Alaska man can use hovercraft while moose hunting, Supreme Court says

Justice’s on the nation’s highest court reportedly sided unanimously with an Alaskan moose hunter on Tuesday, overturning the rulings of lower courts in his battle with the National Park Service (NPS).

"We reverse the decision below and wish [John] Sturgeon good hunting," Justice Elena Kagan said in reading a summary of the decision.

The Supreme Court’s ruling stemmed from a 2007 incident when Sturgeon, of Anchorage, Alaska, made use of a hovercraft while hunting moose along the state’s Nation River, which runs in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, The Associated Press reported.

But Sturgeon was reportedly notified by multiple Park Service rangers at the time that using the hovercraft was unlawful. The agency had banned hovercraft in other states.

SUPREME COURT WARILY WEIGHS PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING

In siding with Sturgeon, the Supreme Court said the agency was wrong in prohibiting the use of an amphibious vehicle on a river through a national preserve.

In their decision, Justices cited the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act that in 1980 set aside 162,500 square miles of land for preservation purposes, the outlet said. The law reportedly created 10 new national parks, preserves and monuments but said agency rules would not apply on state or private land within the conservation units that are not federally owned.

"Sturgeon can again rev up his hovercraft in search of moose," Kagan wrote.

Sturgeon filed a lawsuit on the matter about four years after the incident with the Park Service rangers, although his fight was rejected in the lower courts, The Associated Press said.

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The Supreme Court reportedly weighed in on the matter in 2016, noting that the 1980 law carved out several state-specific exceptions to NPS’s general authority over federally managed preserves and sent the case back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration.

That court ultimately decided the NPS had regulatory authority over a river in a preserve, the outlet said. The Supreme Court justices rejected that conclusion.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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