Wolf Control Plans Could Ultimately Lead to an Increase in
Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News /
April 16, 2004
am a moose biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
and former vice chair of the Board of Game. Mike Fleagle
stated that Defenders of Wildlife misled us about moose
calf hunting and predator management. There is no aerial
wolf shooting in the moose calf hunt area on the Tanana
Flats, but there is a wolf control plan (begun in 1996,
renewed March 2004, expires July 2009). It allows chasing
and hunting of wolves from snowmachines. Hunters may take
five wolves; trappers have no limit. Humans are the No.
1 cause of wolf mortality.
The plan is to increase survival of Delta Caribou Herd calves and double herd
size. Nonetheless, the herd has continued to decline or remain stable. Previous
wolf control created a historic high population in the 1980s that resulted in
overgrazed habitat. It may not recover for many years.
Unfortunately, the plan may have caused an overabundance of moose and serious
destruction of moose habitat, necessitating calf hunts. Negative ecosystem impacts
by humans, including fire suppression, likely inextricably link predator control
to moose calf hunts. If we remove wolves and bears we must continually monitor
moose condition and/or habitat and establish hunting seasons that mimic natural
predation. With a large proportion of state lands granted predator control, and
with legalized aerial wolf hunting in predator control areas, we will likely
see a substantial increase in moose calf hunts statewide.
-- Julie Maier / Fairbanks
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