Last week, I wrote to you about HB 256, a bill drafted by special interest groups to give the Board of Game a rubber stamp on predator control programs and cut the public out of the wildlife decision-making process.
I -- along with many other wildlife advocates -- testified against this terrible bill at the House Resources Committee hearing last week. Now, I need your help to drive the message home that Alaskans won't stand for this kind of blow to responsible wildlife management.
Your state representative is a member of the House Resources Committee and cares about your opinions, so your voice is especially important right now.
Send a message urging your representative to oppose HB 256 today.
HB 256 is bad news for Alaskans and Alaska wildlife for the following reasons:
• It ignores public opinion regarding the use of airplanes to kill wildlife Alaskans have twice voted through statewide ballot measures to restrict this practice -- and makes it much easier to shoot wolves and other predators using airplanes. Under existing law, nearly 700 wolves have already been killed by aerial hunters. This isn't management it's a massacre and now they want to increase the killing.
• For the first time ever, it would sanction aerial bear hunting. Brown bears are slow to reproduce and should be managed conservatively. This is an unprecedented and totally irresponsible move.
• It allows for the aerial gunning of carnivores to reduce predator populations in order to artificially and unsustainably boost game populations -- a practice that will primarily benefit urban and out-of-state hunters, not rural hunters with demonstrated needs. It's more about greed than need.
• Set a disastrous precedent for giving the Board of Game carte blanche control over the state's aerial predator control policies -- without requiring them to consider any public input or the best available scientific evidence. This bill would allow for even greater politicization of the policy-setting process.
• Eliminate the need for a comprehensive "game management plan" to be in place before predator control could occur. The current law already mandates predator control when the Board of Game makes certain findings. HB 256 would eliminate any standards for predator control.
• In summary, this bill is yet another backward step away from wise, science-based wildlife management and the House Resources Committee has the power to stop it by voting it down.
You can help stop HB 256 in its tracks by urging your Representative to oppose this bill. If this bill is "killed" (voted down) in the Resources Committee, it's unlikely it will see the light of day.
Alaska needs effective, science-based, economically feasible wildlife management laws that take Alaska's diverse wildlife and the views of all Alaskans -- not just the big game sport hunters -- into account.
Urge your representative to help send a strong message that Alaskans don't support politically-motivated changes to our wildlife laws by voting NO on HB 256! There's no time to lose -- the committee will be voting any day now!
I hope you will defend your right to be included in the decision-making process when it comes to Alaska's wildlife and make your voice heard on this important issue today.
Defenders of Wildlife