Game Management is Best Tempered
with Social Science

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / April 19, 2003


Dave Kelleyhouse, whom I have heard referred to as "Machine Gun Kelleyhouse," is mad at Gov. Murkowski. Dave got his nickname by suggesting using machine guns from helicopters on wolves without studies to verify wolf control was needed. The governor properly used both biological and social sciences when he decided to forgo state-financed wolf control.

Biological science presented to the McGrath Adaptive Management Team, of which I was a member, showed both bears and wolves must be removed to rebuild moose numbers. However, population predictions showed that moose would quickly decline once heavy predator control by the state ended.

McGrath residents say they do not hunt bears. Since bears are a critical link in the predation formula and locals resist hunting them, why start a wolf control program?

Moose harvest at McGrath is among the highest in the state, but not as high as when poisons and planes reduced predator numbers. Gov. Murkowski was bold to say those living in the area should be more active in solving their moose harvest problems. Their decisions should not become a burden for the state.

How much state effort should be used to farm wildlife for hunters? Social science must be part of wildlife management. If it isn't, wildlife becomes the private property of hunters, which is a violation of our Alaska Constitution.

-- Leo Keeler / Anchorage

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