Alaskans Don't Hunt and Oppose Bear Baiting, So Dump It
Anchorage Daily News
/ Letters to the Editor / August 29, 2003
Regarding the story "Biologist takes on bait ban" (Aug. 15), concerning a legal
challenge to the current bear baiting initiative:
It is not surprising that Wayne Heimer, a former Alaska Department of Fish and
Game biologist, filed a legal complaint to stop Alaska's voters from deciding
whether this despicable, unsportsmanlike practice should continue. After all,
Fish and Game supports it and the Board of Game has rejected all proposals to
ban bear baiting since it was permitted in 1982.
Mr. Heimer insists that Fish and Game and the Board of Game should make all wildlife
management decisions. Ideally, I would agree, but unfortunately in reality the
board is anything but a "system which is world-renowned for its democratic nature
and good track record," as he asserts. In the approximately 30 years the board
has existed, there has been only one confirmed non-hunter/non-trapper on the
board, yet 75 percent of Alaskans 16 years old or older do not have hunting or
trapping licenses. Clearly, non-consumptive users are essentially disenfranchised
from the wildlife regulatory system.
The current bear baiting initiative is a broad-based coalition of both non-hunters
and hunters who support fair chase. Only 2 percent of Alaska hunters bait bears,
and opinion polls indicate that about 50 percent of hunters oppose baiting.
Regrettably, initiatives sometimes are the only recourse left because of the
refusal of Fish and Game and the Board of Game to make necessary reforms urged
by a large majority of Alaskans.
-- Edgar P. Bailey, Wildlife Biologist / Homer
Song of Alaska, P.O. Box 671670, Chugiak, Alaska 99567-1670
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