Wildlife Management

Opinion / Letters to the Editor / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / November 18, 2003

As a member of the Unit 19(D) East (McGrath) Adaptive Management Team, I've learned what balanced management means to radical hunters and Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The team learned the subsistence needs of McGrath required 3,000 to 3,500 moose and there were 1,800 to 2,400 in 2001. Meeting the need requires having a bull/cow ratio of 30/100, which is normal for a healthy hunted population. Accurate surveys showed the ratio in areas popular for McGrath hunters to be as low as 6/100 near McGrath and 37/100 further out, and overhunting being the major problem.

After learning these facts, Fish and Game discontinued meetings and began portraying old draft plans with predator control as complete.

Regardless of these facts, this spring Fish and Game moved bears out of the 500-square-mile popular hunting area close to McGrath. Now the board is authorizing fly-by shooting of wolves in 1,700 square miles at McGrath. They also authorized land-and-shoot for wolves in 7,800 square miles of Unit 13. This balances the few able to shoot from planes with a lot being able to land and shoot. Is land and shoot an ethical and efficient control or is it sport?

Removing wolves and bears and replacing them with hunters is today's hunter-dominated board definition of balanced wildlife management. Having concern for past votes against aerial hunting only upsets their agenda.

Leo Keeler / Anchorage AK


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