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Bad wildlife management

Posted: October 31, 2011 - 12:02am

Farmer Brown goes out to his field one day and shoots his best bulls. That season calf production is off a bit and the calves produced are a little less healthy. Next year, he does the same and calf production and survival again drop. The third year he repeats it with results both predictable and alarming.

So he goes to his agriculture agent and complains, “them wolves and bears are killing all my calves!”

The agent immediately starts a program of predator “control” in which all means, no matter how brutal, are employed to destroy the maximum number of predators.

This is our present system of wildlife management.

All it takes to initiate the most barbaric practices (denning, running predators down with planes and snowmobiles, snaring sows and shooting accompanying cubs) is a proposal put forth to a Board of Game dominated by the guided hunting industry. That proposal can even come from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, which finds predator control much easier and faster than doing real science. Why waste money on accurate studies when you can put a family friend in a position of authority, someone whose main experience was chief gopher-choker in the Lower 48 (as is the case with Sarah Palin wedging Corey Rossi into the F&G hierarchy some years ago.)

As for the Farmer Brown School of Game Management, what are we doing when, year after year for over a century, outsiders have been catered to by that department to come up and destroy our best wild breeding stock? It’s no wonder we pay for that now in decreased calf survival rates. In many GMUs where “emergencies” have been declared by this kowtowing department, non-resident hunting is still permitted even as the aerial hunting planes rev up, even as the bucket snares are put out to lead to the killing of more bears.

This is your Fish & Game Department, your BOG as they go about unhindered, destroying our wildlife legacy for generations to come.

What was first an emergency action is now common and permanent. And so will be the loss of healthy ecosystems and wildlife in the following years. As long as these entities act like Farmer Browns, as long as people like Rossi can operate, there will be more “emergencies” and fewer moose, caribou, wolves and bears.

Welcome to wildlife mismanagement, Alaskan-style.

Art Greenwalt

Fairbanks

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