Bill to Replace Game Board Stalls,
But Republican Bigotry Bill Sails

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / April 21, 2004

The Constitution of Alaska states that wildlife is intended for the "common use" of all Alaskans. When it comes to the management of wildlife, hunters and non-hunters should be working together as equals.

Polls show that 83 percent of voters feel their interests would be better served by a Board of Wildlife composed of hunters, trappers and others engaged in wildlife viewing, wildlife photography and wildlife tourism than they would be by a Board of Game composed only of hunters and trappers. Seventy percent of hunters agree. Recognizing the importance of diversity on boards as a basis for making good decisions would appear to be a core value for most Alaskans, even if it means giving up some representation with respect to one's own interest group.

In February, Sen. Johnny Ellis, a Democrat, introduced SB 343, which would replace the existing hunter-trapper Board of Game with a Board of Wildlife. At the same time Sen. Ralph Seekins, a Republican, introduced SB 318, which would give special privileges to hunters over non-hunters. Sen. Ellis' equality bill has not been given a single public hearing while Sen. Seekins' bigotry bill is advancing at warp speed through the Resources and Judiciary committees. Why am I not surprised?

-- Paul Joslin, Wildlife Director / Alaska Wildlife Alliance / Anchorage


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