It is disheartening in the extreme that the Alaska Board of Game has decided to allow hunting of brown bears in an area adjacent to the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary ("McNeil bear hunt opposition grows," Feb. 12). Bears are very intelligent and learn quickly. Those bears are habituated to humans and will be more easily killed by "sportsmen" when they wander out of the sanctuary into the newly opened hunting area where some den.
I am a hunter, but I recognize an immoral and foolish policy when I see it. This is foolish for many reasons. But the most important reason is respect for wildlife whose behavior our influence has altered. Hunting adjacent to the sanctuary is just plain wrong, and that is reason enough to ban it.
Game Board Chairman Ron Somerville is a man who has shown poor judgment in the past with comments about Native Alaskans and "free beer." He continues to show this judgment by supporting this change. If a person disagrees with hunting, they have a chance to speak up. If they hunt, this policy also threatens them. Most importantly, it threatens the bears and the bear-viewing industry. If we thought that the wolf boycott (regardless of how effective it is or is not) was news, just wait until they get wind of this Outside.
---- Bill Vogel / Soldotna