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Legislature needs to repair Board of Game

Posted: March 13, 2012 - 8:08am

It's time for the Legislature to repair the fence.

In its surreptitious attempt to privatize wildlife, has the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and its sidekick the Board of Game imploded? A once proud agency/board, built on noteworthy competence and diversity of opinion has become a narrow-minded organization that serves fraternal friends. An allocation system based on need (AS 16.05.258), now oozes with greed. Some highly prized hunting permits are going to the highest bidder, with more in the works. Forget the average guy. The ideals of our Constitution are more like deals.

Things are a mess if you believe in conservation principles, hunting ethics and fair opportunity, but at their best if you support hunting as a privilege that few can afford.

So who's to blame? Do you blame the fox if the farmer doesn't maintain the hen house fence? Our Constitution built the fence for managing wildlife resources, but who is supposed to maintain it? The Legislature!

But what have they done to keep us from sliding down this slippery slope? Nothing is the short answer. In fact they have added grease by routinely approving appointments to the Board of Game that defy the meaning of diverse, despite a statutory mandate, as well as a Commissioner who has about as much stature as a statue that pigeons roost on.

If vetting were more than just political setting, this wouldn't have happened.

It's time for the Legislature to take some responsibility for the mess they have allowed. They need to investigate where things went wrong and then confirm appointments that make things right. Now is not too late.

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Jedediah Smith
Jedediah Smith 03/13/12 - 09:40 am

Your right George lets appoint non-consumptive users to the Board of Game and get rid of all the traditional uses Alaskans embrace. Let's put anti-hunting, anti -management people on the BOG. Let's allow them to ignore the Alaska State Constitution and Intensive management laws and let all of the predators eat most of the moose and caribou. Oh yeah, Governor Knowles did just that, and it didn't work out to well for Alaskans who depend on wild game.

geomatz 03/14/12 - 09:56 am

My letter doesn’t say anything about appointing non-consumptive users to the Board of Game. What I am most concerned about with the BOG trend towards privatizing Alaska’s game is having those who want to live a self-sufficient lifestyle (which includes hunting) being squeezed out by commercial interests who make a lot more catering to big ticket hunts. I can’t afford that and just the idea of paying that much runs counter to my idea of self-sufficiency. I think the big losers in this privatization scheme will be the traditional users that you mention.

Seeing the incremental approach to privatization over the past couple of years by various BOG proposals and directives reminds me of the New England political adage I learned when living there some time ago which is; it is easier to steal the pasture from the cow than the cow from the pasture. To me, allowing large private landowners to essentially own the game on their property is just that; stealing the pasture. The ultimate insult would be to have politically connected commercial hunting interests lease large tracts of state land and then be given the right to control access/harvest. If you think traditional Alaskan uses of wildlife will fit in with that, you are missing some cows.

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