The Board of Game completed its 10-day Spring meeting and adopted a number of proposals further expanding predator control and hunting and trapping methods far beyond what previous Boards have approved. We're not surprised by these actions given the Board's makeup and because all of the current members were appointed or reappointed by Governor Palin. The voting record of Governor Palin's most recent appointment, Teresa Sager-Albaugh, who has yet to be confirmed by the legislature was particularly disturbing. As an example, on the final hours of the Board meeting she requested that the Board reconsider its prior vote to not adopt a predator control program for Game Management Unit 9C and 9E, on the Alaska Peninsula, a proposal the Alaska Department of Fish and Game opposed stating the decline in caribou in this region is attributed to nutritional limitations (see ADF&G comments). When the board reconsidered the issue at the urging of Teresa Sager-Albaugh, it adopted the proposal. In many instances she was the sole vote supporting some of the most far-reaching proposals the board considered but fortunately did not adopt. Specifically, she was the only member who voted to approve aerial predator control in Game Management Unit 13E, which includes areas of Denali State Park (Proposal 114) and she opposed an amendment that removed language that restricted residents from shooting wolves from helicopters (Proposal 237).
Below are a few more examples of the most egregious actions the Board took.
1. Use of Helicopters:
The Board of Game approved Proposal 168, that allows the use of helicopters by residents and non-residents to access bait stations, snares, camps and trap lines to kill up to 800 black bears and up to 10 brown bears, including sows and cubs, in Unit 16 (just west of Anchorage across Cook Inlet), which will dramatically increase the number of bears killed. The Board did not require that the meat to be salvaged and it allowed the sale of the black bear hides for profit, actually encouraging commercial fur buyers by allowing the resale of furs. Use of helicopters by resident and non-residents for hunting has always been illegal in Alaska. The Alaska Wildlife Troopers strongly opposed this proposal in part because they don't have a helicopter dedicated for wildlife troopers that will allow them to enforce these liberalized regulations that allow citizens to access remote areas with helicopters.
2. Land and shooting of Brown Bears / Legal sale and resale of trophy skins
The Board of Game approved Proposal 236, which will allow land and shoot hunting of brown bears by Alaska residents and the legal sale, and the resale by commercial fur buyers, of their fur in Unit 19D (McGrath). Landing and shooting of brown bears is strongly opposed by the public and has long been illegal in Alaska. Sale of bear hides encourages poaching and resale strongly encourages the illegal sale of "trophy" mounts.
3. Use of Poison Gas to Kill Wolves all year long
The Board of Game approved Proposal 190, which allowed the use of poison gas and snares by ADF&G staff to kill wolves in all six of the current predator control programs at any time of year, including when young wolves are in the den. This proposal also authorized the ADF&G to contract with resident or nonresident citizens to kill wolves in the same fashion.
To avoid advanced public scrutiny, the Board of Game often used "amendments" to approve the most egregious components.
View all the votes by the Board of Game: BOG Vote Record
Please contact me if you need any specific details.
Defenders of Wildlife
333 W. 4th Ave. Suite 302, Anchorage AK 99501