| To the editor:
Ever wonder how nonresidents are allowed to hunt in areas subject to predator control when, theoretically, such activity is done on an emergency basis? The following might clarify things.
Take caribou limits in the area near Tok, Game Management Unit 20E. This is an area of intense predator control. But nonresident hunting of caribou continues unabated through the years. The regulations for 2010-2011 show on page 95 once again non-residents may hunt this herd. Given the supposed “emergency” nature of imposing predator control, you have to wonder why nonresidents remain able to hunt such areas.
It’s simple: money.
Our Department of Fish and Game derives much funding from non-resident licenses and fees. Resident tag sales are a small percentage of its annual revenue. Guess which group is likely to receive better attention.
Board of Game members for the most part derive their incomes from the guided hunt industry. Even the latest nominee, Nathan Turner, is part of that business. A peculiar connectivity between the regulators and the interests of guided hunting becomes visible.
Then, there is the matter of the Alaska Outdoor Council and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, two groups which dominate the board and owe a great deal of their funds to the guided hunt industry.
Is it no wonder, then, that in an “emergency” situation nonresidents can still hunt these caribou?
Each year, the board is told by Alaska’s subsistence hunters they cannot compete with guided hunting services in their locales. Each year, the board imposes more and more predator control, claiming emergency situations. And each year, the nonresidents get the cream of the crop, while Alaskans (and the predators natural and essential to the health of the ecosystem) are shortchanged.
Sadly, the top administrators of our wildlife — Denby Lloyd, Pat Valkenburg and Carl Rossi — continue this imbalance. When Alaskans complain, the board is fast to blame it on the wolves and bears, then impose more “emergency” predator control.
Emergency or not, nonresidents continue to kill our best and finest throughout the state. The board, Lloyd, Valkenburg, and Rossi see to it they are not inconvenienced.
Art Greenwalt, vice president, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Fairbanks