Ak Hunting News: Governor Palin Introduces Bill to Streamline Predator Management Laws
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From an ADFG News Release dated 11 May 2007:
Governor Sarah Palin has introduced a bill in the State House and Senate that will simplify and clarify Alaska’s intensive management law for big game and the state's "same day airborne hunting" law. “I have said many times that my administration is committed to management of game for abundance, and to a proactive, science-based predator management program where appropriate,” said the Governor. “The bill I am introducing will give the Board of Game and state wildlife managers the tools they need to actively manage important game herds and help thousands of Alaskan families put food on their tables.”
The bill, House Bill 256 and Senate Bill 176, clarifies and simplifies the language of what is known as the “intensive management” law (AS 16.05.255 (e-g)), which requires the Alaska Board of Game to adopt regulations to restore populations of moose, caribou and deer in parts of the state where they have been depleted over time. During the last four winters, the state has been conducting predator control programs in some areas to build up moose and caribou herds.
“We have had good success in achieving lower wolf densities in the predator control areas during the first few years of the programs,” said Matt Robus, Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation in the Department of Fish and Game. “There are now indications in our longest-established programs that moose populations are responding well to reduced levels of predation, and this will directly affect the harvestable surplus so that people will be able to harvest these animals for subsistence and personal use.”
The Governor’s bill clarifies state law that requires the Board of Game to implement regulations to help manage important game herds for both abundant numbers and abundant opportunities for Alaskans to harvest game. In addition, the bill uses the new term "active management,” which is broader and is used in place of "intensive management." The bill also would eliminate several current requirements that have proven to be problematic for both the Board and the courts, and definitions that vary from existing usage within the wildlife management profession.
HB256/SB176 takes two laws that were written to achieve almost exactly opposite purposes and harmonizes them so that the state's game managers, the courts, and the public will have less trouble understanding how they work together and the legal requirements that apply in each situation. The important principle of limiting use of airborne and same day airborne shooting of large predators is retained, while the process for conducting game management programs critical to meeting the state's constitutional mandates is made simpler, more workable, and more legally defensible.
Governor Palin said she is introducing the bill at this time because she wants to generate discussion on the important issues related to predator reduction as a component of abundance-based management. “I understand that the legislature doesn’t have time to give this bill a committee hearing before the end of this session,” she said. “I want Alaskans to look at this new language over the summer and fall, debate the issues and urge their legislators to pass the bill into law early next year.”
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