Preserve hunting privilege

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2004

It will be up to voters this fall to decide whether or not to allow black bear hunting in Alaska. Maybe you're saying, "I don't bait. Why should I care." The reason: This is another anti-hunting movement in the guise that "baiting isn't fair chase." In that sense neither is using bait for fishing.

Alaska requires a person who wishes to use bait as a method of taking black bears to attend a class that stresses methods, and, above all, safety. These rules must be followed so as not to endanger the public, the environment, or proliferation of the species (including brown bears, which are not allowed to be baited). The area that an individual chooses for black bear baiting must be registered with Alaska Fish and Game and have a sign stating so on the site. When a hunter is finished with the site, he or she must clean up the bait and all other paraphernalia used at the site. The meat and hide must be salvaged. These are just a few of the rules that must be adhered to.

The system works well. There are plenty of black bears in the areas specified for black bear baiting. The good thing about this method is that it gives the hunter the time to make sure the black bear is not a female with cubs, take a mature bear, and make a clean shot. Hunters I know prefer to take a mature boar (male). They are larger and the ones that kill cubs, hence, more cubs will survive.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game does a fine job of regulating the taking of black bears and has the expertise to do so, not the anti-hunters. If this initiative passes, which species will be next? Moose? Caribou? Sheep? It's not about if you hunt black bears over bait. It's about if you hunt and want to continue hunting.

Vote to preserve your hunting rights. Vote "no" on ballot measure 3.

Jerry Johnson


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