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Aerial Wolf Hunting in Alaska

Sean Doogan / NBC / KTUU / January 18, 2006


When we hear about aerial wolf hunting it is usually a politician or an environmentalist talking. We don't always hear from the people who are directly impacted.

One of Alaska Department of Fish and Game's answer to low game populations was aerial wolf control--until a state judge put a stop to it.
"Basically we got caught up in our internal regulations. We weren't violating state law or federal law or anything else," said Bruce Bartly, Alaska Department of Fish & Game.

People in rural areas say that the wolf population is out of control. There have been stories of wolves wondering into villages, attacking dogs on chains and coming right up to houses. Rural residents say these things are happening because there are just too many wolves in the area.
"It's becoming dangerous for the village. You gotta keep close. You could see the tracks coming to the communities and coming right into the villages," said Luki Akelkok, Dillingham area resident.

The aerial wolf hunting program was put in place mostly to protect already low subsistence moose and caribou populations. But still not all people think killing the predators is the answer.


The aerial wolf hunting program was put in place mostly to protect already low subsistence moose and caribou populations. But still not all people think killing the predators is the answer.

"Frequently the answer of some people is, "Let's just go kill the predators".  We will make it better for everyone that way wont we?' That's just poor science - you can do enormous damage to the habitat when you approach it from that standpoint," said Paul Joslin, biologist, Alaskans for a Representative Board for Wildlife.

Joslin is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. While he represents Alaskans against aerial wolf hunting, the cry is heard outside the state as well. A cry that sounds foul to those closest to this issue.

"These people from the Lower 48 don't know what's happening up in Alaska here. They're out there, they got stores to go in. They should come out and try to get food for their table and see what kind of hard work it is," said Akelkok.


Fish and Game says the aerial wolf hunting program was halted because of internal documentation problems. So they hope to have the problems fixed and the program back up and running in about a week.
To contact Andrea, call 907-273-3146

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