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Help the McNeil Bear Sanctuary off linmits to hunting

Wolf Rhetoric

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / April 5, 2009

Kathy S. Irwin, Alaska Wildlife Alliance Advisory Board, Homer AK

To the editor:

Ms. McLeod-Everette's letter that blamed wolves for the decline in moose and caribou was the usual rhetoric parroted by members of the Alaska Outdoors Council, of which she's a member.

She speaks of years ago seeing many moose in an area and then implies such sightings are now rare due to wolves. But she picks the wrong predator.   Fairbanks and other settlements were intensely used by market hunters who decimated the moose herds which could be found on the outskirts of town.

Additionally, Wickersham Dome and Cleary Summit used to see regular seasonal populations of caribou, but those were hunted quickly out of existence. Before the market hunters, moose and caribou co-existed with predators for millennia.   The history of the Interior is filled with narrations of how plentiful wildlife used to be until the advent of the market hunters.   She also ignores another obvious factor for moose decline: tree growth.   It's a natural sequence that at first many moose utilize a burned area for new growth only to later see the willow disappear as the forest matures and the moose move on. Older growth forests are poor habitat for these herbivores, yet forests are expanding throughout the Interior, both due to fire suppression and global temperature change. The Board of Game does not factor this important fact into their "maximum yield" plan.

As for her supporting Palin's "adherence to our constitution, which requires managing our natural resources (in this case, wild food) for abundance and maximum yield," why are so many moose, caribou and sheep shot by rich outsiders who pay people such as McLeod-Everette thousands of dollars to kill for trophies, not to feed families.   Alaska's out-of-control predator control is not about food for Alaskans; it's about the special interests of McLeod-Everette and other members of the Alaska Outdoors Council.

After all, as a trophy guide, she sells Outsiders our biggest and best while we Alaskans are left the rest.

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