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Board of Game must protect Alaska's interests

Posted: March 20, 2012 - 11:00pm

Once upon a time the Board of Game worked for Alaskans.

Constitutionally it should represent all Alaskans but its decisions and composition represent mainly the Outside trophy hunter. Areas theoretically in an emergency situation and covered by Intensive Management still see nonresidents allowed to hunt a restricted game population.

Its mandate is to apply science yet it bases its IM decisions on the barest of anecdotal narrations. Witness McGrath, where IM was activated on such a basis only for it to be later revealed the moose population was already at desired population levels. IM is still in place there, an area which is the base for many a guided hunt.

Another example of both of these negative perspectives is in the 16b bear snaring proposal. Activated to help what the BOG considered a foundering moose population, even ADF&G admits the problem resides mainly in lack of available forage due to decades of fire suppression. A bear so snared faces possibly 3 days without food or water, a brutality which, if visited upon a dog, would earn a fine for animal cruelty. It’s a grand trophy hunting opportunity for friends of the Alaska Outdoor Council and the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. What could be easier than to shoot a bear held in place by a steel cable? Maybe Mr. Rossi would enjoy such a hunt given his apparent ethics. Maybe his trophy-hunting friends would find it delightful. But most Alaskans believe in fair chase and that died by the BOG wayside some years ago.

Instead we now have a BOG that acts with an arrogance that places itself above Alaskans’ interests. The BOG ignored a 500-signature petition and removed a Denali National Park buffer zone in place for years. It ignored 380 comments against aerial wolf hunting on the Kenai submitted to its Anchorage meeting. It is considering aerial hunting of bears, as well, and increased bear snaring.

Who would have thought wildlife management in Alaska could degrade so deeply and so quickly under the Palin/Parnell administrations?

The BOG worked for Alaskans… once upon a time.

Art Greenwalt

Fairbanks

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