Predator Control

Voice of the Times / Anchorage / December 1, 2003

NO DOUBT about it, predator control is politically incorrect. That doesn't mean it's not the right thing in some situations, just that it offends the hysterics among us.

And the wildlife protectionists are all ahowl about newly approved plans to allow aerial hunting of wolves to increase the moose and caribou populations upon which they prey. They concede that increased game counts would benefit subsistence hunters, but they look down their noses at so-called sport hunters, who hunt to fill their freezers as well.

The fact is that reducing predator numbers in areas like those in question will increase game populations to the benefit of both urban and rural resource users. Testimony at the recent Board of Game meeting suggested that the two groups are in agreement on the issue, though some activists would like to drive a wedge between them .

Allowing wolves to live out their lives unfazed by aerial hunters will not allow them to die in peace. Life in the wild is never a placid existence. Wolves that might be killed were not headed for quiet retirement without predator control.

The activists are threatening to launch a nation-wide tourism boycott. That would hurt but it may just be the cost of doing the right thing.


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