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A Bounty is a Bounty

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / March 29, 2007

To the editor:

The recent editorial soft-pedaling the wolf bounty reminds me of Frank Murkowski trying to explain how his newly bought "state" jet was so necessary. The axiom about what walks and talks like a duck comes to mind.

It is a bounty; a huge step backward to the dark ages of wildlife management. Bounties were never a good method of handling wildlife. They are difficult to monitor properly, abuse is widespread, and in the end it's a great deal of money wasted. When the present airborne killing program was first instituted even Murkowski realized it should not be a financial burden on Alaskans and would not fund it.

Now, when Gov. Palin has seen fit to flat line education funding, when the Longevity Bonus is only a memory, when the Fox Spring has lost all its funds, she can find the blood money to pay for front legs from wolves taken in a manner most Alaskans disapprove of and have twice banned. For a governor who claims to listen to the people, she has turned a remarkably deaf ear to this issue.

There is something sadly missing from this entire situation and that is humility. We treat our wildlife as though we have all the answers; we don't. We charge in with guns blazing when thorough study is still needed. We respond to the loud voices of a few extremists calling to "control" this species or that when we should be listening to sound scientific principles. And when it all comes crumbling down around our ears as has happened too often, it's too late to bring back what we have destroyed. The loss is irrevocable.

We owe it to future Alaskans to leave them a legacy of natural systems as fully functional and healthy as possible. Instead, we are giving them a replay of what happened across the Lower 48 a century ago. With bounties now in place we are one step away from using poison baits. If you think that would never happen consider what we are doing to our wildlife now in the name of "game management."

Art Greenwalt / Fairbanks

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