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Help the McNeil Bear Sanctuary off linmits to hunting

Law Gives Wildlife to All Alaskans

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / February 28, 2009

Regarding the absence from the Board of Game of anyone who is not a hunter or trapper: Mr. Bill Samuelson has got it all wrong (Letters, Feb. 21). Contrary to his assumption, the Alaska Constitution (Art. VIII, Sec. 3) confirms that all Alaskans own the wildlife resources of the state -- not just those who hold hunting (or trapping) licenses. So his contention that Alaskans who want a voice in wildlife management have to first buy a ticket is simply against the law.

License revenues and dedicated federal funds do support the state's game population management, in its continuing attempt to allocate limited resources among competing consumptive users. But the question must be asked: How large would the Department of Fish and Game's budget have to be, if it did not have to spend all of its time and effort allocating game resources among competing hunters?

The hunter-generated revenues and funds that Mr. Samuelson boasts of hardly cover the cost of managing the problems created by the continuing tug-of-war between hunters over their claimed "fair share" of a natural resource that is in fact owned by all Alaskans. Instead of a bragging point, this looks instead like a regrettable but necessary perpetual drain on the public treasury in trying to dress a continuing self-inflicted wound.

-- T. E. Meacham

Anchorage AK

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