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Help the McNeil Bear Sanctuary off linmits to hunting

Board of Game's Track Record Suggests Need for Diversification

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / February 3, 2009


Bob Bell's Compass piece claiming the Board of Game doesn't make its decisions based on the desires of special interest user groups, but rather the wildlife itself, is disingenuous at best. For that reason, he argued, the board needn't diversify to represent a non-consumptive perspective.

The Board of Game has repeatedly voted against the recommendations of professional wildlife biologists who have concerns about specific hunting and trapping regulations which threaten wildlife. There are too many examples to be listed here.

In 2007, they voted against the biologists and approved a full-curl restriction for sheep that allowed hunters to target only mature males (to benefit commercial guides). Biologists raised concerns that removing sexually mature males from the gene pool compromised the population.

Then, the board opened up Chugach State Park to wolverine trapping, again against the recommendations of biologists who said additional harvest would not be sustainable to the population. Hundreds of scientists have taken a stand against Alaska's aggressive predator control program, saying it is not sustainable wildlife policy, only to have the board approve more far-ranging and controversial methods.

Alaska statutes require that the Board of Game represent a diversity of interests and points of view. Our Constitution mandates that wildlife be managed for the common good. The time has come to diversify the board.

-- Valerie Connor


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