From Alaska Dispatch News, by Vic Van Ballenberghe, July 16, 2017
“In 1994, Alaska’s Legislature passed the Intensive Management Law intended to increase populations of moose, caribou and deer and thereby provide increased harvests for hunters. Hunting organizations supported the bill that paved the way for large-scale predator control programs. The prevailing model crafted at the time by Department of Fish and Game biologists predicted that in nearly all cases, reducing wolves and bears would increase moose and caribou numbers and would ultimately benefit hunters. The Board of Game eagerly adopted this model and vigorously applied it after 2002 across a broad area of the state. Thousands of wolves and bears were killed as part of intensive management programs featuring controversial, extreme methods including public aerial shooting of wolves, gassing of wolf pups in dens, trapping bears and shooting bears from helicopters.
From the beginning, some biologists warned that managing wildlife was far more complex than simply reducing predators. We knew that predation sometimes limited prey numbers, but other factors often overshadowed predation. These included food quantity and quality, severe winters, dry summers and hunting. We stressed the importance of conducting field studies before implementing predator control, during control to monitor progress and after control to evaluate effectiveness. But some of the approved control programs lacked the necessary studies and information to justify, implement, monitor and evaluate predator reductions…
…My own analysis of statewide moose harvests before and after aggressive, intensive management showed no significant increase in harvests as a result of reducing predators. Intensive management didn’t result in larger moose harvests despite an increase of about 5,000 hunters per year on average during aggressive management programs.”
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by Rick Sinnott at Alaska Dispatch, March 7, 2014
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Brace yourself for another excuse to give away Alaska wildlife. Rep. Lynn Gattis, R-Wasilla, and 12 other state representatives have sponsored a bill that will double the number of big game permits donated to organizations to auction or raffle off, often to wealthy nonresident hunters. This bill is unrelated to another bill that seeks to authorize qualified organizations to auction or raffle off “big bull moose derby” tickets.
HB 161 was recently passed by the House and is now being considered by the Senate. As a parting shot, after the House passed the bill, Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, added her name to the list of co-sponsors.
Continue reading at Alaska Dispatch…
by Rick Sinnott February 26, 2014 in Alaska Dispatch
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Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, and Rep. Eric Feige, R-Chickaloon, have sponsored a bill that would add “big bull moose derbies” to the existing list of games of chance and skill permitted by the Department of Revenue for fundraising purposes. House Bill 268 defines “big bull moose derby” as a contest in which prizes are awarded for harvesting a bull moose based on the size and spread of its antlers…
….But the idea has several inherent flaws. The foremost concern is that the derby and raffle participants are betting on the deaths of animals. I have no problem with sport hunting. I hunt moose. But the animals we kill deserve our respect. They don’t deserve to be pawns for our amusement in a contest many Native cultures would consider playing with one’s food.
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From Alaska Dispatch, by Rick Sinnott, November 5, 2013
“Recent headlines have focused national attention on massive moose die-offs in the Lower 48. The mortalities may be due largely to winter ticks and other parasites. Is that something that could happen in Alaska? It will if nothing is done about it.
Like with the hottest fashions, Alaska is often the last state in the union to be hit with trends. But that doesn’t mean they can’t happen here. If any of the parasites decimating moose populations gain a foothold in Alaska, it could spell the end of moose populations and moose hunting as we know them…” read the full article at Alaska Dispatch here.