I wonder why Rod Arno says I think ANILCA makes sense. I guess he did not have a starting point to make assertions so he made one up. I?m not willing to get into a long debate with Rod since I know he has despised my opinions for years. So this will be my last post to Arno and his radical AOC buddies. I hope the less radical readers of this posts gain from the information I offer.
Shipping of beef, chickens, clothing, hardware, supplies, etc. to big cities in Alaska is not that different from their being shipped to big cities in every other State. Studies of the federal Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for federal workers show that it is more expensive to live in Washington DC than in Anchorage or Fairbanks, Alaska, but Senator Stevens has been powerful enough to keep Congress from reducing Alaska?s COLA. Understandably, the cost of living is much higher in many parts of rural Alaska. However, that is only part of what the legislative history for ANILCA and ANCSA shows as the reason rural residents have priority for harvesting fish and game on federal lands.
I do not have any problem with urban hunters going into rural Alaska and taking fish and game, but I do not think populations of wolves and bears should be reduced as a means of increasing urban hunter success rates, or as a means to correct problems created by over harvesting. Past arguments with Arno have shown me that he believes Alaska's wildlife belongs only to those that hunt and fish. That is why he and the AOC fear the public initiative process, which has twice voted to stop aerial shooting of wolves. That is also why they developed and got the Intensive Management Law passed, which I believe violates Alaska?s Constitution and will eventually be challenged in court.
I agree many Alaskan?s would enjoy eating more moose and caribou. I also understand that even though only 15% of Alaskans buy a hunting license, that their families and others enjoy wild meat. I do wonder what the number of people using wild meat really is, and where they live. Why does Arno say ?Alaskans would willingly eat more moose and caribou if possible? in such a way to suggest that it applies to all Alaskans?
I do not think Rod will ever accept the premise that hunting and fishing license fees pay for the privilege to take a public resource and put it in your freezer. Though he, and others, may say the Pitman Robertson gun and ammo tax that goes to States to support wildlife also justifies managing primarily for hunters, they will not acknowledge that well over 50% of the PR taxes are generated by trap, skeet and other target shooting activities. Though some of those shooters may hunt, the primary reason most of them are buying shot and powder is not to improve wildlife habitat or hunter success.
Rod, or a buddy, may reply that Alaska?s Board of Game process manages for all Alaskans and is the best system ever created. They may tout that the Citizen Advisory Committee system represents everyone. However, when there is a proposal that would limit hunting in favor of another user group, the records will show 90-100% of the votes of any Advisory Committee are against the proposal. That is not the sign of a well balanced citizen group, but does represent the power of the hunting lobby. I?ve also had several Advisory Committee members tell me they were the token 1 non-hunter out of 12 or 14 on the Committee, and they took a lot of ridicule when they stood up for non-hunters proposals or their rights to have a say in management of Alaska?s wildlife.
Societies change and Alaska has changed since 1959 when it became a State. Unfortunately there are those that will fight forever to keep Alaska?s wildlife management decisions restricted to hunters and operating as though it were still the 18th century.
So Leo Keeler thinks a federal law, ANILCA, that gives anybody who chooses to move out onto Alaska's wildlife habitat a priority to kill and eat it fish and game makes sense?
Why not have people live in urban areas and manage rural wildlife habitats for sustained yield populations of wild food for those who choose to hunt and fish?
A local wildfood harvest for Alaskans makes sense, why burn up fuel to ship beef, pork, and chicken all the way north to Alaska? Alaskans would willingly eat more moose and caribou if possible.
One question not asked or discussed is this - Why did the Federal Government have to take the management of fish and game away from the State and establish federal regulations for hunting and fishing on federal lands? UNDER FEDERAL LAW, PEOPLE LIVING IN RURAL ALASKA (all people, not just native people), ARE TO HAVE PRIORITY IN HARVESTING FISH AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES. Alaskas game management system considers every hunter a subsistence hunter and does not allow a rural priority. Urban hunters and lobbyists have fought to prevent changes in Alaskas system to allow a rural priority for decades. So I wonder if those in this blog that say they need to kill wolves in order to meet their subsistence needs really live in rural areas, or if they are urban hunters who are trying to protect actions intended to make it easier for them have a successful hunt that they can tell their neighbor about. Many feel improving success ratios for urban hunters does not justify predator control. Yes, I understand that most hunters use the meat they harvest, as I always have. But being dependent on it in rural Alaska is not the same as being what Alaska calls a subsistence hunter with a Wal Mart nearby. Fearing the spread of aerial wolf hunting to the lower 48 states, people are asking for facts about the aerial wolf hunting program in Alaska. Some hope those facts will counter the proposed Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act. Few realize the PAW Act does not stop all aerial hunting, but requires it to be based on sound science, not just the wishes of the hunting lobby, a small vocal minority. (Less than 15% of all Alaskans hold a hunting license. ( http://www.adn.com/outdoors/hunting/story/9219177p-9135328c. html ) McGrath, Alaska, was ground zero for the startup of aerial wolf control and has had the most scientific studies of any area of the state. I was appointed to the McGrath Adaptive Management team assigned to find out why hunters were not finding enough Bull Moose to harvest. Studies of subsistence needs for just the McGrath area indicated the need to harvest 100-150 moose, which Fish and Game said required a population of 3,000-3,500 moose. Predation studies showed that bears were the main predators, and a study was done removing bears in the spring so more calves survived. That increased calf survival lasted until the next winter, which was more severe than normal, and most of surviving calves died because of weather, not predation. Intense population studies were done at McGrath, rather than the general population trend survey that had been done for years. The good studies showed that there were between 2,800 and 3,200 moose in the area we desired to have 3,000-3,500, and it showed the core of the problem, the bull cow ratio, which should have been nearly 25 - 40 bulls per 100 cows was down to as low as 6 per 100. That ratio indicates over hunting. Over hunting was also indicated by the bulls having smaller antlers. (Look under Harvests - http://wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=hunting.moose and http://www.akwildlife.com/Page5.htm ) All this scientific information was set aside when Governor Murkowski came into office and appointed a new, very radical Board of Game. This Board is so radical, that I fear they will soon approve DENNING - the practice of killing wolf pups and bears and cubs while in their dens - just to increase urban hunter success ratios, without any real regard to helping those living in rural areas that have a higher dependence on natural resources. If they want to show real concern for rural Alaskans, those crying wolf should be crying for better control of urban and trophy hunters and initiating permit systems that help guarantee bull cow ratios do not drop as low as they have near McGrath. I believe under a permit system there will be as much hunting opportunity as there is today, and very likely much higher success ratios.