Wolf Song of Alaska News

Measure 2 Opponents Try to Confuse

Points of view on limiting predator control

Compass / Anchorage Daily News / August 21, 2008

Vote "No" on Measure 2. If Measure 2 passes it will place a permanent ban on the state's science-based, aerial predator-management programs -- programs our management professionals have developed with scientific data and public input.

Don't be fooled; there is no aerial hunting in Alaska -- predator management is only used as a game management tool to assist moose and caribou recovery. Look at Alaska's game regulations. Hunting wolves from the air is illegal. Aerial management is only authorized in five subunits of our 66 game management subunits after biologists determine predators to be responsible for irreversible population declines.

Nearly 80 percent of all moose and caribou deaths in an average year are attributed to predation. This far exceeds that of human consumption. A caribou herd on the Alaska Peninsula has been decimated by predators. In the past two years biologists found only six surviving calves! You can thank predator management that this year biologists are estimating more than 280 surviving calves.

Why did these folks write another deceptive initiative to confuse you? Because the open public process available to them is less appealing than raising money from zealous Outside activists to produce deceptive ads and hope an unsuspecting public goes along. Because using any of our 88 Citizens Advisory Committees and the open public Board of Game process fails to get them what they want.
"Biological emergency" sure sounds like a reasonable term, but there is no real definition for it. The Alaska Board of Game and our wildlife biologists have spent years of open public debate creating standards for intensive management. Right now a population is thoughtfully studied and if it is determined to be in irrecoverable decline, an intensive management strategy is tailored specifically for that population. It doesn't always include predator control.
We first try to increase game populations by improving habitat and reducing hunting. Wolves and bears have a little trouble reading regulations. They aren't real good at following seasons and bag limits on how many moose and caribou they are allowed to eat each year. We have to use other methods of regulating their consumption.

We do know what a biological emergency isn't. Adopting this language does not allow aerial management to protect innocent humans riding bikes or walking dogs on local trails. That means that aerial control will not be an option.

The proponents' campaign is based entirely on appealing to your sympathy for their own purposes. If we allow Measure 2 to pass, overabundant predator populations will continue to decimate moose and caribou numbers and force some families dependent on subsistence to face the possibility of heading into November knowing they don't have enough meat to last the winter. That is something that deserves your sympathy.

Don't be fooled by shocking propaganda. The proponents of Measure 2 will throw around emotional terms like "fair chase." Fair chase has nothing to do with management practices. Active predator management isn't pretty, but it's the most humane efficient method available. At statehood the feds were dropping poisoned meat out of airplanes. This is a controlled program with a specific purpose, to assist moose and caribou. When a program's goals are reached the program ends.

Evidence has been provided to the Alaska Public Offices Commission that suggests Alaskans for Wildlife, the proponents of Measure 2, have violated Alaska's campaign reporting laws by failing to disclose major contributions and expenditures. Knowing a complaint has been filed for more than $24,000 in unreported campaign expenditures, how can we trust their management statistics? The money trail for these television ads goes directly to Washington, D.C.-based Defenders of Wildlife and its extremist animal rights agenda. Didn't we send these guys packing in 2004?

To quote the proponents' treasurer, Nick Jans, in a recent op-ed in the Fairbanks News-Miner, "I hate to disappoint some of you, but my two co-sponsors and I aren't a pack of Outside greenie-weenies." Unfortunately, it appears that, once again, the proponents of Measure 2 are having a tough time telling the truth. Please, vote "No" on Measure 2.

Jennifer Yuhas is a former legislative aide who specialized in Second Amendment and Public Trust Doctrine issues and is former executive director of the Alaska Outdoor Council. She grew up hunting and fishing and remains committed to preserving Alaska's heritage.

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