Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This season I found myself once again short of time to do all the different types of hunting that is available right here in Alaska. One thing that has constantly irked me is it seems that each year we lose some of our hunting territory which makes it more and more difficult to get your family members out hunting when there just isn't enough time to travel very far from home. This year I was surprised and almost shocked to see a gate across the Marathon Gas field road just out of Kenai at the intersection of Marathon Road and the north road escape route. A sign on the new gate that was locked said we (us hunters) must contact the Kenai Native Association to get permission to hunt.

I was already late trying to get my children out hunting with me and now I have to drive back to Kenai to pay a $10 deposit for a key to travel (not hunt) on a road that does not even belong to these people. How can you put a gate on a road that does not even belong to you and restrict or hinder our access to the Kenai wildlife refuge? Needless to say I was a little hot and a whole lot more disappointed in the actions of these people let alone the frustration for our government officials for even allowing it to happen!

I have hunted back there for many years and happy that we have a place close to town for those hunts when we simply do not have a lot of time. I have spotted game of all kinds on the Marathon Road throughout the years and have spent many hours crawling around the many swamps, and lakes in that area.

Yes I paid the $10 deposit for the key. No I do not like it nor do I feel it is right or something that I feel will be allowed to go on into next season. I have some native blood in my ancestry but never felt being native should ever be used to give me special rights or privileges over any other race. If I can’t compete on a level playing field with all of my fellow hunters and fishermen then I need to simply learn how to be a better hunter or fisherman. I don’t want special seasons or special privileges because my Great Grandmother was a native. I want and expect to follow the same rules as everyone else regardless of race or color.

Another thing that has always bothered me is not allowing the local people of the Kenai Peninsula to hunt the Skilak Loop area at all. Making one of our most accessable areas a so-called viewing area is just plain stupid. Game management??? When over 50% of our moose calves are gobbled up by bears and adult moose fall over dead of old age rather then taking a few to feed our people. Unless you’re going to get out of your car and walk into the loop area you’re not going to see very many animals at all. The thick brush growing on the edge of the roadway pretty much eliminates that. We could harvest a few animals each year during hunting season and let the tourist and whoever else is behind this viewing area stuff enjoy it the other 11 months.

How humane is it to watch a bear eat a wobbly kneed calf before it even has a chance to be able to run away. If we leave meat in the field after butchering a shot animal it is called wanton waste and we can and will be arrested. In my way of thinking if Fish & Game closes an area entirely and does nothing to manage it regardless of the numbers of animals available of any species they are also guilty of a form of wanton waste. Wasting a natural resource to say the very least. With gasoline prices in the $3 a gallon area it sure would be nice to once again have full access to the hunting areas close to home.

I urge all of my fellow hunters to protest the gate on Marathon Road as well as the closing of all hunting except archery on the Skilak loop area. Call your politicians, Fish & Game, and anyone else involved and let them know just how unhappy you are. Hunting has always been a very important part of my life and the more I see our hunting privileges taken from us the grumpier it makes me. I urge you to also do your part in helping all of us get back some of our hunting rights. See you next week!

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