I was appalled to read the front-page article, "State wants helicopters to rescue wolf-kill program" (March 9). Helicopters? What's next, hand-held rocket launchers, unmanned drones with heat-seeking missiles?
It would appear the Board of Game is lamenting the fact that they have only been able to kill 38 wolves so far this winter. Falling short of their goal set at 382, they have decided to resort to drastic measures.
How often do we hear the hunter's lament, that they are protecting their traditional way of life and honoring the ancient ways? They declare that subsistence hunting is necessary. How else can they fill their freezers? I realize we are talking about wolves here but one wonders what happened to the "ancient ways" rhetoric? The Board of Game would have us believe that it is using its high-tech arsenal to pick off those pesky wolves so that we all won't perish for lack of moose meat.
Twice, aerial wolf hunting has been voted down and twice it has been overturned. So much for democracy.
Little has changed for the hunted animals of Alaska and elsewhere. They have no high-tech arsenal, GPS, night-vision goggles, 4-wheelers or high-powered rifles with long-range scopes. Human beings converge on their habitat with little regard for the terrain and even less for the creatures that live there.
Long before the Board of Game was in existence, the balance of nature took care of itself. When too many predators exist, food supplies diminish and predator numbers decrease. This of course allows the species preyed upon to multiply once again, and so goes the cycle.
According to the Department of Fish and Game, less than 14 percent of Alaskans were registered to hunt in 2005. It would seem the Board of Game represents a small constituency and ignores the concerns of the vast majority of Alaskans. If the truth be known, "predator control" is more about "balancing" increased human hunting demands. Wolves are killed for doing what they must do to survive. They kill moose.
Their food options are limited. Is the state willing to subsidize the demands of the few hunters to the tune of $200,000 to $300,000 to use state helicopters?
An initiative to ban the aerial shooting of wolves (and bears) has been approved to appear on the August 2008 ballot. I have no doubt that this vote will once again overturn this outrageous practice.
We must however, hold our Legislature accountable and demand that it not give the Board of Game authority to resume the aerial shooting program after the two-year initiative has expired, as it has done in the past.
My hope is that our newly elected governor will thoughtfully address this issue and listen to her constituents, all of them.
Toni Faubion-Truesdell is a 38-year Palmer resident.