Wolf Song of Alaska News

Hatcher Pass is Devoid of Game, Offers Hunters Only an Illusion

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / May 21, 2006

Sonja Sager of Eagle says predator control is sold "as benefiting subsistence hunters" like herself, but really benefits "non-local" recreational hunters ("States' aim on wolves hits subsistence too," April 21).

Hatcher Pass was "managed" for recreational hunters -- they killed or chased away everything. Snowfalls this April, ideal for tracking, revealed almost nothing: a dead moose, some ravens and magpies. A Native acquaintance says he couldn't subsist here. A trapper friend calls it "barren." There's more wildlife in Anchorage.

I let a spring bear hunter park in my drive; his chances were slim. Bear-baiting -- and an individual using radio-collared hunting dogs -- have eliminated resident black bear families.

So why don't wildlife managers allow Hatcher Pass to recover? Because Alaskans with more equipment than knowledge are satisfied with the illusion of hunting, riding around looking for something to kill.

Besides, Hatcher Pass is now being "managed" to benefit development. Even the intensive State Board of Game is an unwitting pawn; it can't get enough wildlife enforcement officers to protect the few remaining animals ("Wildlife officers thinning," April 19).

Without enforcement of already weak regulations, too many Alaskans are quite willing to mark the last square foot of untouched ground and kill the last animal. Once there's nothing out there, the highest use of forests becomes grinding them up for wood chips. Logging and development are creeping up the mountain.

---- Rudy Wittshirk / Willow

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