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Board of Game Misses the Target; Alaska Needs a Board of Wildlife

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / April 28, 2005

Alaskans are still waiting for the Board of Game to represent all Alaskans. The March meeting showed how little this board cares about anything but hunting. The board and advisory committees throughout the state are controlled by hunters, and always will be. Since the social issues and conflicts between hunting and viewing are limited to small areas, it is proper that harvests be managed by those involved in harvesting, which the current board is capable of handling.

However, since wildlife belongs to all Alaskans, something must be done to address social issues of wildlife management, before harvest decisions are made. The game board has proven itself incapable of handling that type of decision. A Board of Wildlife is needed to make decisions on such issues as where and how wolf control occurs, and where wildlife viewing is a priority. After the Board of Wildlife resolves the social issues, then the Board of Game can work with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and determine harvest limits and hunting dates.

Attempts to remake the Board of Game and advisory committees into something that can handle both social issues and harvest limits is an impossible task. Only by having Alaskans vote on who is a member of a Board of Wildlife can we be assured that powerful lobbies will not retain control of all of Alaska's wildlife.

Leo Keeler / Anchorage

Editor's Note: The writer is a wildlife photographer and former member of the Alaska Board of Game.

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