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Aerial wolf hunting on the Peninsula?

Posted: September 23, 2011 - 10:10am

If I told you that aerial wolf gunning was being planned for the Kenai Peninsula, you’d probably think I was making it up. I wish I were. Unfortunately that is exactly what the Board of Game has in store for us this winter. This last week the Board released the proposal book for their November meeting in Barrow. In it are two placeholders – proposals 35 and 36 – for intensive management plans which will include aerial wolf gunning to protect moose in Units 15A and 15C. ADF&G apparently didn’t have enough time to complete the full plans in time for the proposal book’s release so we won’t be know the full story until “sometime before the November meeting.”

It’s bad enough that the Board asked ADF&G to consider aerial wolf control, which really has no place on the Kenai and is not supported by scientific evidence, but it seems that they are also preventing those who will be affected by the programs from voicing their disapproval in a public forum. Not only will we have little time to comment on the substance of the proposals due to their late release, the Board will be considering aerial wolf gunning on the Kenai Peninsula at the Arctic region meeting in Barrow rather than during the next Southcentral meeting in Anchorage.

For years the Board of Game has been aggressively expanding their predator control programs; now they want to bring it to our doorstep without giving us adequate opportunity to weigh in. Enough is enough. This Board won’t listen to scientific reasoning; it’s up to us to let them know that aerial wolf control is not the future we want for our Peninsula despite the obstacles they’ve put in our path.

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kenaicommoner
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kenaicommoner 09/23/11 - 01:52 pm
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wolf control

You're right, I don't believe it! Thanks for bringing it to my attention but why is this the first I've heard of it? Certainly this is an issue that would concern not only Kenai, but also Anchorage residents who also love this place. Not only is killing predators from the air not feasible here, from what I've heard and seen, the moose issues have nothing to do with wolves. The Board has truly lost their minds if they think we'll accept such actions lying down. Not here, not ever.

ladyonthelake
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ladyonthelake 09/23/11 - 03:00 pm
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Mr. Toppenberg is wrong when

Mr. Toppenberg is wrong when he states "aerial wolf control, which really has no place on the Kenai and is not supported by scientific evidence" the BOG and ADF&G have very strict guidelines that are based on science and is mandated by law to implement Intensive Management programs when wildlife populations are failing. We are loosing our moose population on the Kenai. What does Mr. Toppenberg suggest we do? And as we all know the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge refuses to do little to nothing to save our moose, however, we are depending on the Board of Game and the State of Alaska to save the day. Most of us on the Kenai know that the predators are overpopulated and need to kept in balance.

woodwise
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woodwise 09/26/11 - 01:57 pm
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sorry lady

Unfortunately, ladyonthelake, Mr. Toppenberg is correct in his assertions. If you attended the March Board meeting, like I did, you would have heard ADF&G biologists REPEATEDLY - explain to the Board that predators weren't the problem on the Kenai. Rather, they explained that in the north, habitat simply ain't what it used to be (when we had plentiful moose). In the south, hunters were harvesting too many young bulls and ended up skewing the sex ratio. The Board IGNORED the very biologists you claim they should listen to. In fact, ADF&G recommended that the population objectives should be lowered in the north because of the habitat concerns, but the Board refused. In the south, as I stated before, the issue has more to do with overharvest than habitat - but again ADF&G was clear that predators were not the problem. As a side note, the moose in the south are at population objectives, there are just too few bulls to allow for liberal harvest. So, which scientific "expertise" would you prefer be used? The Board's or ADF&G's? This is all on the record so anyone can go ahead and research it for themselves. If people want to be able to harvest more moose on the southern Kenai just stop shooting all the young bulls. In the northern Kenai, you'll have to buy up all the homes, summer retreats, and lodges, tear out that highway which kills some 300+ moose per year, and light it on fire. That's the only way moose are coming back to the north at the numbers they were there in the past.

ak4hunters
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ak4hunters 09/24/11 - 09:15 am
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Typical greenie blather…blame

Typical greenie blather…blame the hunters. I wouldn’t hang my hat on what our local biologist presented to the Board of Game, he's not exactly the shinning star of the dept. The fact of the matter is, for the first time any of us can remember an area biologist had to go back to the BOG three times to resubmit an IM proposal because it was so poorly written and lacked any sufficient data. Lady of the Lake is correct predators are a major factor in our population decline of moose. All you have to do is spend a little time out in the woods, especially in 15A and you will see all of the wolf and bear scat and not many moose.

kenai-king
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kenai-king 09/26/11 - 06:54 am
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Moose

I have lived here for 25 years and have never seen so many Brown Bear. When I moved here it was rare to see a track in a residential area.

woodwise
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woodwise 09/26/11 - 12:58 pm
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not hunters?

Sounds like someone has a problem with environmentalists - and perhaps a biologist with whom they don't agree (I'd really like to see your credentials ak4hunters). Not surprising to hear that you don't like them, but I see nothing in the article that "blames" hunters. If you were referring to the comment about the overharvest of bulls it's easily verified. Why do you think the Board had to restrict bull harvest? Answer - too many young bulls were being harvested. Not by wolves (wolves could not and would not selectively prey upon bull moose in a manner that would result in the current sex ratio), but by hunters. This is not to say that hunters are to "blame", they were harvesting moose according to regulation. However, regulation of wildlife harvest to insure sustainability is an imperfect science. ADF&G thought they were protecting enough young bulls. Turns out they weren't - lesson learned. So, hunters now need to slow the harvest to conserve the population for future use. Isn't this what hunters have always prided themselves on? What great conservationists they are? By the way, yes, there are fewer moose in 15A - again, the habitat is not sufficient to support more. Even the Board agreed with that. I don't agree that its because there are "too many" wolves or bears - there is no biological evidence supporting that claim.

potomac
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potomac 09/27/11 - 07:50 am
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15A

anyone who has spent time walking and paddling in this country knows the moose are running out of winter range. All the old fire breaks which were willow are now spruce and alder, the F&G years ago quit grinding up areas for willow to come in and quit the feed program (pellets), with so many houses every where controlled burns are pretty much a thing of the past. Traffic and road kills can't continue without a long lasting effect on moose, 300 plus a year!! The hay days are over, no amount of predator control will change that, you can't stop the disease on the bench from killing the willow, several hard winters might. There are several things going on at once, the picture keeps changing from year to year , it is silly to blame it on one single small part of the puzzle like wolves, don't blame the F & G biologists, they are all you have out there every day trying to make best out of a bad situation.

AKMaineIac
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AKMaineIac 09/27/11 - 01:55 pm
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More wolves = fewer moose... not science, logic.

Anyone who argues that fewer wolves does not translate into more moose is trying to push a ball up a hill with a string. It's not going to work, it can not be done. Less wolves has got to translate into more moose. Wolves eat moose. Same with bears. Wolves and bears should be both be well trained to fear man. When they fear man, man and they have fewer harmful interactions for both the man and the critter.

Same as fewer hunters translates into more moose, or tighter restrictions on what moose can be shot translates into more moose.

aknina
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aknina 09/27/11 - 03:19 pm
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Aerial Wolf Killing on the Kenai Peninsula

Mr. Toppenberg is right! To discuss controversial aerial wolf gunning plans in Barrow rather than in South Central Alaska is ridiculous. Furthermore, it should not even be on this agenda if the full plan is not available in the proposal book that is sent to the public. This is not proper public process.

I strongly object to aerial wolf gunning. This type of management harkens back to the dark days in Alaska and elsewhere when predators were mercilessly slaughtered. In an era of new scientific evidence of the importance of predators to a healthy ecosystem, we should not be so quick to simply kill the predators. Good management has to consider the habitat, careful bag limits, cycles of weather, and more. Harvest of too many moose by hunters is a very important factor. With more people on the Peninsula, there are not enough moose for everyone who wants to kill one, and realistically, there never will be. Jumping automatically to aerial gunning of wolves to provide more moose is really going too far in this drive to make Alaska into a moose farm.

alaskanhunter
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alaskanhunter 09/29/11 - 05:36 pm
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Report the news!!!!!

This goes past the aerial hunting issue. Mr. Toppenberg and all the other writer need to stick to reporting the news and not giving their opinion about the topic. It is not their job to try to persuade the readers in one way or the other. Stick to giving us giving us information not, your opinion.

Offcenter
42
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Offcenter 09/30/11 - 09:21 am
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RE: "Report the news!!!!"

It's a letter to the editor in the opinion section, not a news piece. The writer's opinion is the whole point.

radiokenai
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radiokenai 10/01/11 - 10:49 am
0
0
I am curious
Unpublished

Has any of the bleeding hearts listed above actually GONE aerial wolf hunting? Do you think someone just grabs Grandpas double barrel, a gallon of av-gas, and flies out to bag a den of wolves?

Better do some research first, it may not be as easy or lucrative as you think....

akdave
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akdave 10/04/11 - 08:20 pm
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Aerial Hunting

We should make it legal to aerial hunt idiot drivers on the Spur Highway who can't seem to read speed limit signs or abide by the law. Save a wolf, shoot an idiot driver! :P

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