During the recent Board of Game (BOG) meeting in Anchorage, the board demonstrated that it needs to be managed with intensive restraint. The degree of this restraint should equal the degree to which they are authorizing predator control management in Alaska.
The board authorized previously illegal methods to kill black bear and orphaned wolf pups. Black bear "ground and bait snaring" was approved in an area northwest of Cook Inlet. The snaring of brown bear also will apply in the McGrath area.
In addition, gas poisoning of orphaned wolf pups in their dens has been approved. This poisoning will be facilitated by state employees; which is unprecedented. These methods will be implemented to boost moose and caribou populations. Many Alaskans believe these unscientifically based practices are ill conceived attempts by our BOG to simulate a moose and caribou ranching approach in Alaska. The National Research Council and the American Society of Mammalogists have expressed strong concerns that Alaska's predator control programs are not based on science.
In 2008 the Palin Administration appropriated $400,000 of state funding to "educate" Alaskans on the benefits of intensive predator control management. That effort occurred during an election year when an initiative to ban unscientifically based predator control programs was on the ballot. Many Alaskans saw through this political ploy. This misuse of state funds is another example of the disparate methods that the Palin Administration's BOG is willing to resort to in order to convince us it's a good thing to artificially inflate prey populations.
It's time for Alaskans to intensify their management of the BOG by demanding that wildlife be managed scientifically and that such management be implemented humanely and ethically. Begin your management efforts by participating in BOG meetings, contacting the BOG at 907-465-4110 and the governor's office at 907-465-3500.