Wolf Song of Alaska News

Bear Snaring

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / September 29, 2010


To the editor:

It seems the Board of Game is using the back door to introduce more predator control measures.

At the emergency board meeting in Anchorage, from Oct. 8-12, the board intends to submit a proposal to open units 12, 16B, 19A, 19D, 20E and 25D to snaring of black bears. It also will allow for same-day-airborne take of snared black bears, as well as the use of communication devices such as satellite phones and artificial light.

While predator control in some areas might be necessary, there is no data that indicates ungulate populations in the units opened to bear trapping are being depressed by black bears. The board is side-stepping the need to submit a study and review of the issue by not calling this proposal predator control. Who are they fooling?

I object to this proposal on several grounds, but here are my two big concerns. The Board of Game is getting increasingly aggressive in its predator control policy. The intensive management law requires that the state’s efforts at predator control activity be authorized only after a study and review via a department-submitted predator control implementation plan. Despite their stated policy, this new modification to allow for increased bear snaring appears to be outside of any formal predator control plan and certainly hasn’t had lengthy study or review. In its zeal to intensively manage Alaska’s wildlife, the board seems indifferent to state law and scientific review.

My second objection is as a hunter with black bear meat in my freezer and bear lard in my pantry. There is no requirement in the new regulation that the meat of the bear be salvaged. This is wanton waste. Interior black bear is a valid food source, and if the state is so concerned with providing game for the hunters, it can educate hunters about the value of bear as a game animal rather than reclassifying it as a fur-bearer.

Predator populations can be managed responsibly rather than wastefully. The board’s reckless game management policy is bad science and poor sportsmanship.

Anna Ramsburgh, Fairbanks AK

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