Bills Make Sense

Juneau Empire / Letters to the editor / May 6, 2003


Regarding aerial wolf hunting, I'm wondering if those opposed have actually taken a look at HB 208 and/or SB 155.

The text of those bills, for the most part, is not new. Normal hunters still cannot shoot or assist in same-day aerial hunting. The Board of Game must still find that a predator control program is necessary in order to engage in same day aerial hunting. There are still conditions to authorizing a control program: Either the predator population must be threatening the prey population, through predation or disease, or a decision must be made by the commissioner of Fish and Game that determines aerial hunting is necessary. All the House bill does is replace the text "involving shooting from the air" with language that includes same-day airborne shooting, which is already included in AS 16.05.783(a)(2). The Senate bill does a bit more rewording, but the premise is the same.

In any case, I think it makes sense. Just as quotas are placed on fishermen (the predators) when salmon populations (the prey) are low, I think the intent of the bill is to not only keep the wolves' prey population intact, but also keep the wolves from ultimately decreasing their own food supply to dangerously low levels. You can tell a fisherman to only catch so many pounds of salmon, but you can't really tell a pack of wolves to eat just so many pounds of moose. No, these wolves aren't pushing drugs on children or driving drunk, but think about if a disease broke out among the wolf population that could endanger any animal they came in contact with, including humans; or if there were a huge spike in the wolf population that threatened the very existence of a prey population? Shouldn't there be some law to allow the state to quickly do something about that?

Maybe I'm reading the bills with some sort of naiveté, but the theory and reasoning seem sound to me.

- Jason Soza / Juneau

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