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Will 'Piles of Bears' Be the Wake of This Wanton Trophy Hunt?

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / February 23, 2007

In "Kantishna," Tom Walker's excellent history of the town and origins of McKinley National Park, Charles Sheldon, largely responsible for the park's creation, notes a vast amount of wildlife killed by hunters as "piles of sheep." The Dall sheep population never fully recovered.

His dismay at the wanton abuse of wildlife would find new life with regard to the present Alaska Outdoor Council-controlled Board of Game. The Alaska Outdoor Council doesn't care what the majority of Alaskans want, but serves only its own purposes through the Board of Game. Its attitude toward predators is in keeping with such slaughter.

The board will open the McNeil River bears to hunting this October. Though the population is declining for unknown reasons, the Alaska Outdoor Council's Rod Arno feels that shouldn't prevent the killing of these human-tolerant bears. Larry Aumiller, responsible for the uniqueness of the McNeil River bears, retired after 30 years, disturbed by this sanctioned wildlife abuse soon to begin. This is not a subsistence hunt but a trophy hunt in a state where the vast majority of the bear population is already open to hunting.

---- Art Greenwalt, board member / Alaska Wildlife Alliance / Fairbanks

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