To the editor:
You make widgets. One exceptional day you make four times the usual count. Your boss notices and says you're now expected to produce at that level.
That's how the Department of Fish and Game, driven by the Alaska Outdoor Council-controlled Board of Game and political appointee McKie Campbell, are justifying aerial hunting over the Fortymile Caribou range. Based on a single survey done almost 90 years ago, the board wants to increase the herd to 100,000 using aerial hunting (which most Alaskans, hunters and non-hunters alike, find contemptible).
Wolves are chased by air and snowmachines until exhausted and are then easily killed. For the AOC's game board, this is fine and dandy. The board has recently taken to prohibiting public input, or if they allow it they ignore proposals not in keeping with their agenda. They are totally out of control, exercising full power over our wildlife without any checks or balances, going against a twice-expressed public disapproval of aerial hunting.
This intensive management, which has always failed miserably, finds its latest disaster in the overpopulation of cow moose in the Tanana Flats. Because the wolves have been so reduced, the population of cow moose is out of control. This same situation of unrealistic population highs is what Fish and Game and the board want for the Fortymile Caribou. We've already seen a crash in the Nelchina Caribou Herd from intensive management. Apparently, the AOC's board doesn't learn from the past.
Now the News-Miner praises the aerial hunters. It ignores two already convicted of illegal wolf kills. Trying to drape them in an air of self-sacrifice and nobility, the News-Miner ignores a recent article by Tim Mowry stating how this year's hunt was somewhat curtailed by high fuel costs. These are not some knights of the air but the worst of hunters. They will use any means to kill regardless of how contemptible these methods are in the eyes of their fellow Alaskans. And the News-Miner, always a good friend to the AOC, supports them.
With all this in mind, next time you think you have a say over your wildlife watch, the AOC's game board in action.
Art Greenwalt / Fairbanks