From an eloquent blog by an Alaskan who knows:
Aerial wolf hunting began in 1948. In 1972, Congress passed a law that prohibited aerial wolf hunting. Problem solved? No, under the guise of “wolf control,” permits were issued to “pilot gunner” teams in 1979. In 1992, under Governor Walter Hickel’s Administration, the Alaska Board of Game initiated a wolf control program with the goal of reducing numbers by 80%. Under threat of a massive tourist boycott, the “land and shoot” policy was reintroduced. During Democrat Governor Tony Knowles Administration, only non-lethal measures were used against wolves. The Wolf Management Reform Coalition collected 33,000 signatures to put an aerial wolf hunting ban on the November 1996 ballot; 59% of Alaskans voted for it, with the exception being a biological emergency. A Republican Legislature introduced SB74. This bill eliminated the need for a biological emergency to justify aerial wolf control and usurped the will of the people. Governor Knowles vetoed the bill and the Republican majority overrode it. In March of 2000, SB267 was passed which allowed hunters other than the state biologists to aerially shoot wolves. That same year, Alaskans voted on another ballot initiative to ban aerial wolf hunting by a 53% majority. In 2004, then Governor Frank Murkowski reinstated aerial wolf hunting to private hunters. He opened up 60,000 square miles of Alaska for the flying cowboys. All you needed was a plane and a permit.
With all of this history, we should have been prepared to deal with a Palin Administration hell bent on killing wolves. She wants to shoot them out of planes. She stacked the Alaska Board of Game with pro-aerial wolf hunters. She was successful at merging faulty science, Safari Club International interests and state funded propaganda; spinning a web of lies to masquerade as conservation.
Studies were done in the field, observing the balance between wolves and ungulate populations. They proved what common sense verifies; wolves take the weak and the sick thereby strengthening the herds. The Alaska Board of Game lacks common sense and ignores science. The Board is loaded with Viagra starved, trigger-happy Alaska Outdoor Council and Safari Club International agenda driven thugs.
The science from the Department of Fish & Game’s own biologists contradicted the need for any predator control. Studies conducted for the McGrath Adaptive Management Team proved that over-hunting was the reason for the lack of moose in the area, not wolves. That data was buried and wolf control was implemented.
Right before the 2006 Election, Alaskans for Wildlife submitted 57,000 signatures to get another aerial wolf hunting ban in place. Newly elected Governor Palin and the ADF&G issued even more wolf kill permits and put up a $150 bounty. A state judge ruled Palin exceeded her authority and the bounty was scrapped. At the end of the 2007 legislative session, Palin flooded the legislature with bills to ease up on wolf hunting restrictions, but the bills were held up in committee. In the spring of 2008, Palin tried to declare wildlife an “asset” of the State.
Governor Palin did her part to defeat the initiative as well. She approved the use of public money and ordered the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to publish a 26-page full color pamphlet called “Understanding Intensive Management and Predator Control in Alaska.” It circulated through newspapers statewide and was mailed to tens of thousands of Alaskans just days before the election. The pamphlet emphasized “how well the current system is working.” Spending public money to tell Alaskans that the Aerial Wolf Control Program is necessary to protect our moose and caribou populations just before a statewide election wasn’t an attempt to influence the outcome? The fear machine was in full force. The message was clear: wolves threaten hunters’ ability to put food on the table. But the truth was more about putting pelts on a wall.
Full story at Shannyn Moore’s WordPress blog: here