Juneau Douglas Fish and Game Advisory Committee agreed Wednesday
to ask the state Board of Game to review a regulation that
restricts hunting and trapping wolves on Douglas Island.
Game Board will meet in Juneau from Nov. 2-5 to consider Southeast
issues. The board, appointed by Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski
since Democrat Tony Knowles left office, has supported aerial
hunting of wolves in the Interior to preserve moose populations
the advisory committee put together a group of its members
and the public to consider a more manageable solution.
At its meeting in Juneau in November 2002, the Game Board
prohibited hunting and trapping wolves on Douglas until state
biologists estimate there are at least seven wolves there.
Seven is the average size of a Southeast wolf pack. No more
than 30 percent of the wolves could be hunted or trapped a
year under that provision.
new regulation also said hunting and trapping will be reopened
if there are wolves on the island and hunters' harvest of
deer over two succeeding years falls more than 35 percent
from the average of the preceding 10 years, assuming the same
hunting effort. At that point, state biologists would decide
how many wolves could be hunted or trapped.
deer hunters fear that protecting wolves would lead to a growing
population that depletes the deer in a popular, accessible
hunting area. Hunters kill about 300 deer on the island each
year, state biologists said, although the harvest has been
near 200 in some recent years.
board's action in 2002 was provoked by public concern that
a trapper had killed seven wolves, believed by some to be
an entire pack and perhaps all the wolves on the island.
critics have said the regulation amounts to a perpetual ban
because the state Department of Fish and Game doesn't have
the capacity to accurately estimate the number of wolves on
Rosier, representing the 1,200-member outdoors group Territorial
Sportsmen, said Fish and Game can't manage the regulation.
haven't got the manpower and they don't have the money,"
said Rosier, a former Fish and Game commissioner.
also said the 35-percent provision, related to the decline
in the deer harvest, would allow three years of wolf predation
on deer before Fish and Game had the flexibility to implement
a program to harvest wolves.
and Game wildlife biologist Neil Barten agreed it would be
difficult for the agency to estimate or monitor the number
of wolves on Douglas because the dense forest makes it impossible
to see them from the air, and biologists would need good snow
cover to track them on the ground and the manpower to cover
Bennett of Juneau, a member of the Game Board in 2002, said
the regulation was intended as a compromise between deer hunters
and wildlife viewers.
no question that this is an imprecise solution to recognize
a diversity of interests," he told the advisory committee.
asking for an area in our backyard to see wildlife in,"
said Nathan Peimann, a Juneau resident.
of Voices for Douglas Island Wildlife, a group of about 180
members and supporters, formed in 2002 over the issue. On
Wednesday, they asked the advisory committee to take no action
on its draft proposal to ask the Game Board to rescind the
regulation. They said the advisory committee should represent
the community, but Juneau is split on the issue.
advisory committee's action Wednesday isn't likely to be the
Game Board's only inkling of the issue. Any citizen or group
is entitled to submit proposals to the board, and the board
may take up the issue on its own anyway, committee members
on Wednesday, the advisory committee declined to consider
asking the Game Board to rescind or clarify a regulation,
set in 2002, that protects white-colored black bears in Juneau
from being hunted.
resident Pat Costello's August 2002 photographs of a rare
white-colored black bear were publicized on his Web site and
became the subject of worldwide media coverage.
chairwoman Kathy Hansen said it wasn't clear what "white"
referred to and the rule can't be enforced. But committee
members said they had enough issues on their plate.
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