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Wolf Bounty

Discuss: Wolf Hunting / Anchorage Daily News / March 21, 2007

Let's get some facts in here.

First, contrary to what some posters have been saying this is not an animal rights movement protesting the bounty. The effort to put a ban in place on airborne killing (for the third time) is being led by Nick Jans, a resident of Ambler for 15 years and an active hunter, and Joel Bennett, former Board of Game member and hunting guide. Hardly the animal rights activists being touted as the originators of the ban movement.

Second, this idea that Mother Nature is so much worse than running the animals to exhaustion then blasting away at them is pure bunk. In a recent photo of a wolf shooter's plane that had cracked up the dead wolf the pilot is holding as clearly been shot in the hindquarters to first cripple it. Hardly a killing shot but one that produces considerable agony and a prolonged death.

Third, the idea put forth that we humans need to intervene is even more bunk. For over 50,000 years moose, caribou, wolves, and bears have co-existed. We have not seen the wolves "starving and eating each other out of existence" or the moose disappear in all that time but we certainly see large population crashes now that we have begun meddling with things to skew populations to artificial and unsustainable highs.

Fourth, villagers know best. Right. In the mid '90's the lifelong residents of McGrath proclaimed there were less than 900 moose in their area and they needed to have the wolves killed. When ADF&G got around to doing a proper survey they found there were actually 3600 moose. The BOG, which had set a goal of 3500 moose to meet the villagers' request then reset their number to 3700 so they could still "justify" wolf elimination. The same vilagers said wolves were killing off the moose but again a proper study found wolves accounted for only 5% of the calf mortality while bears took over 45%. Again, they were wrong.

Fifth, ballot box biology? The wildlife resource is one owned equally by all Alaskans under our state constitution. As such, it should be managed for ALL Alaskans not just the lazy AOC hunters who find getting off their ATV's when hunting too demanding an effort. When only 9 people can determine the fate of all our wildlife, a group of whom the large majority are AOC members, we have lost control over our wildlife and the only way to recapture it is through the ballot box. BTW, if you check the ban vote enacted in 1996 you will find a majority of the rural vote went in favor of the ban.

Sixth and final....this is not game management. This is pandering to a group, the Alaska Outdoors Council, of hunters and trappers who really have no goal other than to increase moose and caribou populations to the point where they are so unnaturally high that it takes little effort to bring home a successful hunt. That this has always resulted in devastating population crashes makes little difference (witness the Nelchina Caribou herd in the early '90's, the Taylor Highway Caribou massacres of the early 70's which I saw while hunting there; the present overpopulation of moose in the Tanana Flats across from Fairbanks as examples) for when the inevitable happens the AOC can count on people such as some of the posters you see herein saying how they will starve if the wolves aren't wiped out.

BTW, for the gentleman who keeps saying no one wants to see the wolves all killed off, the BOG stated that precisely as their goal for the entire McGrath region and has placed such high kill rates on other GMU's that without question that is their aim.

We have entered a new low in game mismanagment and our dear governor, also a member of the AOC, is ushering us into it with both hands. Isn't it wonderful she can cut funding for education throughout the state but can find the money to pay for wolf legs to fat cat pilots and their gunners.

Art Greenwalt / Fairbanks AK

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