Sponsors of a citizens initiative to ban same-day airborne hunting of wolves and bears say they plan to turn in signatures to the Division of Elections Tuesday. The group Alaskans for Wildlife plans to submit the signatures. Former Board of Game member Joel Bennett of Juneau is one of the sponsors. He says the ballot initiative is essentially the same as the initiative passed by voters in 1996, and a referendum approved in 2000.
But this time it includes bears because the Game Board has made them subject to same-day airborne hunting. The initiative language from the 1996, and the 2000, actions were overturned by the Legislature following their two-year life.
The referendum restricted the conduct of airborne hunts to Department of Fish and Game employees. Bennett says there's similar language in the most recent effort. It allows department employees to conduct airborne hunts in cases of a biological emergency. Bennett says Alaskans for Wildlife plans to submit more than 57,000 signatures to the Division of Elections' regional office in Anchorage.