Wolf Song of Alaska News

State Game Board Rejects Wolf Hunting Proposal in Southeast Alaska

Associated Press / Anchorage Daily News / November 15, 2006

Juneau, Alaska (AP) - The state Board of Game rejected a proposal that would have lengthened the wolf hunting season in a portion of the Southeast region.

The board, meeting this week in Wrangell, did not decide a separate measure that would have allowed wolf hunters to fly and shoot on the same day because the proposal was withdrawn. The practice remains illegal in Southeast, and is allowed only in certain areas of the state.

The Upper Lynn Canal Advisory Committee, citing concerns that wolves in the Chilkat Valley were thinning the moose population, had proposed the measures. The committee's chairman, Gary Hess, said the proposal to lengthen the season was meant to apply only to wolves in the Chilkat Valley.

"We were only maybe looking to take 10 wolves out of the system. All we wanted to do was extend the season a little," he said. "But I guess that is shot down right now so we will have to attack from another direction."

Hess said the committee is scheduled to meet in a few days to discuss alternatives.

The proposal would have extended the hunting season by a month to May 30.

State biologists as well as conservation groups contended that the Chilkat Valley moose population is stable and there was no need to take aim at the non-human predators.

Hess said that area hunters have counted 31 wolves in the Chilkat Valley, double the number counted in past years.

"Same-day" airborne hunting is controversial. It allows a hunter to be track an animal from a plane, land and kill it.

In other action, the game board unanimously rejected two other proposals. Both proposed opening up Swan Cove and Swan Island on Admiralty Island to bear hunting.

The board agreed not to address that question for another 10 years, although Board Chairman Ron Somerville said a newly appointed board could chose to take up the issue sooner.

A measure to allow brown bear hunting within Angoon's city limits also failed. Some Angoon residents wanted permission to shoot bears that scavenge the town dump, posing a threat to villagers.

Somerville said the board chose to reject the proposal after being assured that the village, Tongass Forest Service officials and state officials were working on an alternate solution.

A restriction on trapping within a half mile of Juneau hiking trails was also rejected.

"It would have essentially closed all of the Juneau area to trapping," Somerville said.
A proposal that would have effected waterfowl hunting in the Mendenhall State Game Refuge by changing the season - from Sept. 1 through Dec. 16 to Sept. 16 through Dec. 31 - was rejected.

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