Murkowski Stacked Game Board with Pro-Predator Control Members

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / February 28, 2004

Sen. Johnny Ellis submitted a bill to establish a Board of Wildlife representing all Alaskans. The Board of Game is the worst "Good Old Buddy" club in Alaska. Gov. Frank Murkowski, when appointing six members to a seven-member board serving staggered three-year terms, displayed just whom the board represents. How did this happen? Past nominees who were not staunch predator control advocates were not confirmed by a Legislature controlled by Alaska's hunting club, the Alaska Outdoor Council. Holding six openings for several years assured extreme predator control measures would be implemented throughout Alaska under a radical new governor.

Board members say they listen to all points of view, but how do they vote? Every predator control request is quickly approved, but non-consumptive requests are rejected. We hear board leaders say they must respond to predator control requests even when Fish and Game says it can't justify them. The six bulls per 100 cows ratio at McGrath was ignored in order to start aerial wolf hunting. Land-and-shoot hunting is prohibited near villages where it would be of most help to rural residents. Anchorage and Fairbanks hunters love this board. A Board of Wildlife is the only way to have every Alaskan truly represented.

Is an initiative required to get a Board of Wildlife? I'll bet yes.

-- Leo Keeler / Anchorage

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