Against public opinion, Gov. Frank Murkowski has signed a bill allowing wolves to be hunted and killed from airplanes.
The people of Alaska have twice voted to revoke this "land-and-shoot" wolf killing in the last seven years, but certain state officials want wolves killed in order to boost moose and caribou herds for hunters. During a land-and-shoot slaughter, hunters in planes or helicopters circle and harass a pack of wolves, and chase them until they exhaust themselves. A hunter then shoots the wolves from the aircraft, or lands on the ice and shoots the terrified wolves as they try to escape in deep snow.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's harvest summary, nearly 7,500 wolves were killed through hunting and trapping in the last five years, but according to the summary, "Most of these harvest totals do not include unreported harvests which may equal or exceed the reported harvest."
If land-and-shoot is so offensive to the majority of Alaska residents, why then do Alaska wildlife officials insist on allowing this cruel practice? In a word; money. Fish and Game encourages expanded hunting opportunities because doing so sells more licenses, which in turn pays the salaries of Fish and Game employees. The division is always eager to increase the number of licenses sold, and land-and-shoot is just another of their schemes to raise more revenue for itself. This is the reality of wildlife management as practiced by the Department of Fish and Game.
Alaska's wildlife will always be on the losing end of any fight as long as they are "managed" by the hunters of the Department of Fish and Game. Asking hunters to be objective stewards of wildlife is like asking a used car salesman to be honest about the 1973 clunker sitting on his lot with 25,000 "original" miles on the odometer.
For more information about the mismanagement of wildlife as perpetuated by state game agencies, please visit our Web site at: www.all-creatures.org/cash.
Joe Miele, Vice President
Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
New Paltz, N.Y.