Let's stick to the facts

Posted: Wednesday, August 09, 2000

After hearing the news of the anti-wolf hunting group getting enough signatures to turn in their petition for a referendum overturning Senate Bill 267, I feel that some corrections are needed. It was reported that SB 267 was passed by the Legislature and overturned the 1996 citizens' initiative banning same-day-airborne hunting of wolves.

The truth of the matter is that SB 267 only allows for taking a wolf on the same day, airborne only, in areas designated by the Board of Game as a wolf control area. Currently, there are only five areas in the state that are designated as such.

Obviously, these areas represent only a small piece of Alaska, not the entire state.

Sen. Pete Kelly of Fairbanks sponsored SB 267, after he attended the McGrath Wolf Summit of February 2000. It was a bipartisan vote that passed this bill, and overrode the governor's veto. The people of the Legislature were able to see that without active predator management, moose and caribou numbers are declining rapidly in certain areas of the state. The taking of wolves on the same day, airborne, accounted for some harvest of wolves, and without that harvest, wolf numbers cannot be kept in check. SB 267 corrected this deficiency in harvest in areas where wolf take is needed most.

Mike Fleagle

McGrath



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