Wolf Song of Alaska News

Wolf History

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / August 23, 2008

To the editor:

Nick Jans seems to have become the most recent high-profile advocate for Ballot Measure 2 that would permanently ban aerial and same-day-airborne wolf control. That is a curious position for someone who claims credibility based on living in the Inupiaq villages of the Kobuk River. He apparently does not know about or appreciate the history of the region.

Land-and-shoot wolf hunting was largely "discovered" and popularized by Tony Burnhardt (an Inupiaq) of Kobuk in the late 1960s, and it was land-and-shoot wolf control (along with harvest reduction) practiced by trappers with aircraft from Kotzebue that allowed the Western Arctic Caribou Herd to recover so quickly from its low point of 75,000 in 1976.

Since then, faster snowmachines have made it possible for people to run down and kill wolves. Jans seems totally opposed to aircraft being used for limited predator control programs but sees nothing wrong with widespread use of snowmachines to run down and kill wolves even when predator control is not warranted.

If Jans also had experience with villages along the Yukon, Kuskokwim, and Koyukuk, he would be more likely to see the need for more effective wolf and bear management around these villages, including the need to use aerial control methods for wolves. His claim of representing the view of people in the "Inupiaq villages" also is difficult to reconcile after the Alaska Federation of Natives passed a resolution at its annual convention opposing Ballot Measure 2. Who better represents Alaska's Native people, Nick Jans or AFN?

The need for and support of predator management is very much a regional issue. It is much better and fairer to leave resource allocation issues to the Board and Game and the Legislature because regional perspectives are much better represented there than they are in a statewide vote.

Richard Swisher, Quicksilver Air, Fairbanks

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