Imagine Alaska's wildlife regulations being based on a hunch rather than biological findings. Now imagine those same regulations being exempt from legal challenge. Enter House Bill 256, now being considered by the House Resources Committee in Juneau.
The reason for this bill's existence is apparently because the Board of Game does not like losing lawsuits. An example featured the board not following their own required procedures when implementing extreme airborne predator control. Another example featured an airborne wolf bounty program. The Board of Game was on the losing end of lawsuits brought against both of these misadventures.
Most of the 14 percent of Alaskans who hold a hunting license are ethical, and fully utilize the meat and other resources provided by our wildlife. Small special-interest groups within this licensed 14 percent control the Alaska Outdoor Council, which in turn exerts pervasive influence over the Board of Game. If this seems a tad unfair to the vast majority of Alaskans, be assured that House Bill 256 will further disenfranchise the majority and make sure the Board of Game is exempt from lawsuits challenging their programs. Additionally, HB 256 puts brown bear and wolverines on the airborne hit list.
You can support responsible, science-based wildlife management by testifying today at 1 p.m. at your local Legislative Information Office. Contact them for the full text of this regressive legislation.
-- John Toppenberg
Editor's Note: The writer is director of a wildlife advocacy organization.