Wolf Song of Alaska News

State Predator Control is Little More than Farming of Alaska's Wild Game

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / November 28, 2006

Robert Meier's interpretation of my opinions demonstrates his own narrow thinking about wildlife management issues ("It all comes down to predator control -- and dead horses -- for Sherwonit," Nov. 16). But on one point, he's correct: I am philosophically opposed to predator control. To me it's a regressive and barbaric practice to kill one native species so that humans can harvest others, particularly in the name of sport hunting. Still, given cultural realities, I can accept the fact that it might occasionally be necessary in extreme circumstances. What bothers me -- and many other Alaskans -- is that the state's predator control program has become a broad-based management tool, conducted in many areas where there's an insufficient knowledge of wildlife populations and dynamics. Basically what the state is really practicing is "favored species" management. Or wild-game farming.

Neither Meier nor William Duncan ("Armchair biologists should stay out of the aerial wolf hunting debate," Nov. 17) seems to understand that predator control is largely a political decision, not one based on science, and it certainly has nothing to do with maintaining biological diversity, as Duncan maintains. I'd argue just the opposite is true. As for allowing citizens to do same-day airborne hunting of wolves: There is absolutely no way to police that practice. From past high-profile busts, we know that at least some airborne wolf hunters have no ethics at all. To allow such a citizen hunt with no monitoring is asking for trouble. It's a bad system, period.

---- Bill Sherwonit / Anchorage

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