A recent incident out East End Road on the south peninsula, and one that took place in Kasilof in December shows a need to change Alaska's trespass laws and a need for hunters and trappers to police those in their ranks.
In Homer, a hunter and the term is used loosely here killed a cow moose in a private driveway; the person was cited for taking a cow without a permit, not trespassing.
In December, a Kasilof resident was unaware that someone had placed a snare on his property. Later that trap caught a dog, which died instantly.
Under Alaska law, the burden to keep hunters and trappers off private property is with the property owner. Do Alaskans really want to litter the view with all those "No Trespassing" and "No Hunting" signs?
Even in cases where the property is unimproved and apparently unused, all that signage doesn't make a lot of sense because signs blow down or get torn down.
In cases where a house is visible, hunters and trappers just give themselves a black eye by being in close proximity to people, especially without the property owner's permission.
Hunting and trapping are an honorable part of Alaska's tradition and current lifestyle, but those who do it need to recognize times have changed. There's more people living where once they didn't live Hunters can't just shoot a moose because they see one as convenient as that might seem. And trappers can't lay down a snare just anywhere.
Hunters need to know what they're shooting at before they shoot. And hunters and trappers should get the permission of land owners before they start, just as Alaska's hunting regulations urge them to do. For ethical hunters and trappers, those basic rules are standard operating procedure.
There's enough anti-hunting sentiment in the world already. An incident like the ones out East End Road and in Kasilof fuel that sentiment because it not only shows a huge disregard for the law, it shows an even bigger lack of respect for others.
Those who value the privilege of hunting and trapping know it's of utmost importance to follow the rules and anything less gives all them a bad name. It doesn't take a lot of violations to get a bad name.
In the long run, these incidents are less about trespassing and not following the rules and more about how necessary it is for all hunters and trappers to act responsibly no matter where they are.
A few shouldn't be allowed to spoil the activity for all.