Wolf Song of Alaska News

Hunter versus Non-Hunter?

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / April 16, 2008

    It's interesting how Burris is trying to paint this as hunter vs anti-hunter. Opposing his viewpoint we have Dr. Vic Van Bellnberghe, former BOG member, wildlife biologist in Alaskan for over 25 years, hunter, trapper; Joel Bennett, former BOG member, hunter; Nick Jans, Alaskan resident for over 20 years, hunter; Leo Keeler, former BOG member, hunter, and so forth. In 2000, over 100 hunters from Fairbanks alone signed a petition against the same aerial gunning Burris is trying to defend. And, of course, in both 1996 and 2000, a majority of Alaskans (who by Burris' perspective are all anti-hunter) voted to ban aerial hunting. In short, Burris is quite willing to mislead in an effort to put his point over.

    In an ADN Compass piece, 3/24/08, Nick Jans (who has lived on the Slope for 20 years and traveled widely throughout the state talking to Bush residents) wrote:

    "In a 1996 ballot initiative, 36 of Alaska's 40 districts rejected aerial predator control. In 2000, 29 of 40 districts did the same. Yet both times, the Legislature overturned that mandate.

    In 2000, 63 percent of Alaskans rejected a referendum that would have made unconstitutional all wildlife ballot initiatives. Now, 56,000 Alaska voters are once again demanding that their voices be heard on the issue of aerial predator control, in a ballot measure that has already been certified.

    These were and are Alaskans speaking out, not Outsiders. And contrary to Alaska Outdoor Council rhetoric, thousands of rural Alaskans voted against it -- people who truly do depend on subsistence. Shishmaref, Klawock, Sleetmute, Kivalina, Pedro Bay, Shageluk, Buckland, Anaktuvuk Pass, White Mountain, Koyuk, Chignik Lagoon, New Stuyahok, Kotzebue, and more -- many Native Bush communities voted against aerial predator control in 2000. To say that these people don't understand the nature of subsistence or wolves is an insult to Native traditions and cultures."

    In short, Burris has it all wrong, a sign of the lengths to which he is willing to go in trying to defend the indefensible.

Dobieman / Fairbanks AK

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