McKie Campbell, 54, Murkowski's choice to lead Fish and Game, will replace Kevin Duffy, who retired. Campbell served as deputy Fish and Game commissioner under Hickel and managed Republican candidate Arliss Sturgulewski's unsuccessful campaign for governor in 1990.
He said he knows how strongly Alaskans feel about wildlife but feels that different interest groups don't have to be at odds.
"Every hunter I know also enjoys watching wildlife," said Campbell, who hunts deer and ducks and fishes for salmon, halibut and steelhead.
Former Game Board chairman Doug Pope said he was glad to hear Campbell had been appointed. "There will always be politics in it, but he'll do what's best for the state of Alaska."
Still, none of the three finalists for Fish and Game commissioner had broad support among hunters, fishermen and non-consumptive users. The other two, Doug Mecum and Wayne Regelin, remain with the department.
Though Campbell wasn't the Alaska Outdoor Council's top choice, president Dick Bishop said he was easygoing and competent when they worked together on subsistence issues under Hickel. More recently, Bishop said, Campbell indicated he was comfortable with predator control programs designed to increase the availability of game. "That's a good sign from our standpoint," he said.
Joel Bennett, of the wildlife conservation group Defenders of Wildlife, dealt with Campbell on wolf-control issues in the 1990s and remembers him as "a reasonable, evenhanded guy." But Bennett expressed hope that Campbell will challenge ongoing efforts to expand predator control.
Daily News reporter Lisa Demer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 257-4390. Daily News reporters Sean Cockerham, Paula Dobbyn and Joel Gay contributed to this story.