On March 26, the House passed House Bill 256, Gov. Sarah Palin's bill that allows for non-science-based same-day airborne hunting of wolves and bears, and opens the doors to game-farming in Alaska and invites a legal challenge to remove Alaska's ballot measure to vote again on aerial hunting, thus taking away Alaskans' right to vote.
The bill essentially says a harvest number of predators can be set to whatever level is deemed necessary by the Board of Game (primarily made up of Alaska Outdoor Council supporters, which Palin is a member of). This can be accomplished mainly by aerial gunning of wolves and bears ("intensive management" is the politically correct phrase). This practice has twice been banned by a majority vote by Alaskans.
Soon the Legislature will leave Alaskans' wildlife management completely to a Board of Game that represents mostly big-game hunters. If you find this maneuver to be questionable, contact your state senators and let them know what you think. Messages can be e-mailed via www.legis.state.ak.us/poms, or you can check your local phone listings for your senator and call toll-free. Contact them now so you can have your say later.
-- Pat Irwin