Alaska's once exemplary wildlife management system has degenerated into something that is far from responsible stewardship of the resource. Party politicians and a single interest group, the Alaska Outdoor Council, have brought this about. When the founder of the AOC, Ron Somerville, was hired by the Republican majority in 1994 to advise them on wildlife issues the AOC docrine of exploiting big game animals, to benefit mostly urban sport hunters, became the norm.
Governor Murkowski stated, "My intention is to keep politics out of this area (wildlife management) as much as possible," after appointing the most partisan political Board of Game in state history. Marching in lock-step with the AOC agenda this BOG believes that wolf control is the only alternative when ungulate populations decline. Never mind habitat deterioration, sever winters, unkown population cycles, or over hunting lets kill wolves!
Wolfphobia reached a zenith a couple of years ago when Fairbanks Senator Ralph Seekins waltzed a bill through the Repulblican Legislature calling for all-out war on wolves. Seekins called Alaska's wolves the "Jeffrey Dahmers" of the wild. This mouthing says less about wolves than about a man who must have had the same grandmother as Little Red Ridinghood. Listing "wildlife studies" as a hobby, AOC member Seekins is a longtime new and used car dealer. The product he sells kills as many moose annually on the highways of the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage, and the Mat-Su as the 180 wolves the BOG targeted for removal in the McGrath and Nelchina "intensive management" areas. Senator Seekins would do well to stifle his irrational fear of wolves and join the Alaska Moose Federation, an organization dedicated to finding ways to reduce the moose road kill.
Wolfphobia brings up a question that must be asked of the BOG and the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Is it fair to Alaska's wildlife (especially big game animals) when every change in political parties at the top results in game management getting jerked around in a different direction? The answer is obvious and tells us that wildlife management is, in reality, people management and that the heart of good game management, biology, can and does get skewed by partisan politics.
Our State's most valuable renewable resource demands a steady hand guiding it, not the teeter-totter we are on today.
George R. Pollard, Kasilof
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