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Thread: PAW Law A Disaster for Alaskans and Others

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    Moderator David Johnson's Avatar
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    Default PAW Law A Disaster for Alaskans and Others

    A friend passed along his take on George Miller's proposed Protecting America's Wildlife amendment to federal law, and I thought it well worth sharing with the crew here. It's also worth reading Governor Palin's response to this, excerpted and linked below.

    Congressman Miller's proposal is a big hit with the Defenders of Wildlife crowd who have lost no opportunity to bad mouth Alaska and our wolf management. Wolves are a big money-maker for DOW.

    This is actually a lot bigger than just Alaska,…and I wonder if many realize it. I’m surprised that agencies in other states haven’t come unglued. My read through the amendment and the existing law is that despite Miller’s intent, a state could probably still have a predator control program. But one thing that is changed is that Joe Pilot would no longer be able to hunt ducks, ptarmigan, deer, or caribou (GMUs 8 and 22) etc. the same day as airborne.

    The 1972 amendment (Airborne Hunting Act) to the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 was directed at prohibiting the shooting FROM a plane. Miller’s amendment will make it illegal to hunt the same day that a person has been airborne,…whether that person is still in the plane or has left the plane and is on the ground and miles away. And that’s not just in Alaska, but nation-wide. This amendment flies right in the face of state (all states) management of their wildlife resources. It’s a restriction on methods and means of hunting,…which has always been the prerogative of individual states. His amendment goes way beyond prohibiting shooting from an aircraft.

    The civil suit aspect of it is also interesting. It would allow anyone to take an agency to court over this on their own behalf. That seems pretty unique. Usually you have to show that you, as an individual, have been harmed by some action. It appears that the language in the amendment would allow anyone to enjoin a lawsuit against a person or agency that is alleged to be in violation of the Act. That would be a good question to ask a lawyer.

    Miller is obviously attacking Alaska, but I think he may also be up against every other state in the nation where anyone uses aircraft.
    This is the press statement put out by Miller about his proposed legislation.

    Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wrote plain, hard words to Congressman Miller in a letter late in September. Here are two excerpts:
    You have misconstrued the reality of life in Alaska and the importance of wild game as food to the people of this state. You displayed a shocking lack of understanding of wildlife management in the North and the true structure and function of Alaska's predator control programs. You have threatened the very foundations of federalism and the state's abilities to manage their own affairs as they see fit.
    and another:
    With all due respect, Congressman Miller, you failed to do your homework.
    Here is the full text of a press release from the Governor's office:
    Governor Sarah Palin today criticized Congressman George Miller’s (D-CA) legislation to eliminate an important element of wildlife management by the State of Alaska.
    “Moose and caribou are important food for Alaskans, and Congressman Miller’s bill threatens that food supply,” said Governor Palin. “Congressman Miller doesn’t understand rural Alaska, doesn’t comprehend wildlife management in the North, and doesn’t appreciate the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gives states the right to manage their own affairs.”
    Miller’s bill would ban the shooting of wolves from aircraft, a component of moose and caribou management plans in five specific areas of Alaska. Predation can keep populations of large game animals at persistently low levels, limiting or eliminating opportunities for Alaskans to secure wild game for food.

    Governor Palin is in agreement with Alaska Congressman Don Young, who announced yesterday his opposition to Miller’s bill, emphasizing that it is an affront to the sovereignty of American states guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

    “This bill would be an unprecedented federal incursion into traditional State management of fish and resident wildlife,” said Palin. “If the federal government can do this to Alaska today, it can do it to any other state tomorrow. The other states, particularly the western public land states, should join us in expressing their indignation.”

    Contrary to what Representative Miller said in Washington yesterday, there is no “aerial hunting” of wolves in Alaska, the Governor said. “Our science-driven and abundance-based predator management program involves volunteers who are permitted to use aircraft to kill some predators in specified areas of the state where we are trying to increase opportunities for Alaskans to put healthy food on their families’ dinner tables. It is not hunting and we have never claimed that it is.”

    Governor Palin said she will contact several other members of Congress to encourage them not to support Congressman Miller’s effort.

    “It appears to me that the Congressman has been inadvertently drawn into service as a fundraiser for national animal rights organizations that commonly spread inaccurate information about Alaska’s game management programs, and with which we are in court on these issues right now,” said Palin.

    Wildlife management policy in Alaska is set by the Alaska Board of Game, a public body appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Alaska State Legislature. The Board deliberates by weighing evidence at public meetings. Testimony comes from Alaska Department of Fish and Game scientists, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens. Governor Palin stressed today that wolf and bear populations are extremely healthy in this state, and that predator control is intended to create more opportunities for humans to harvest moose and caribou for food, while maintaining healthy populations of predators.

    “Our goal is to always have healthy populations of all wildlife, including wolves,” Palin said. “Alaska is the only state that still harbors a full complement of both large ungulates and large predators.”
    David M Johnson
    Anchorage, Alaska
    http://awildolivebranch.blogspot.com

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default thanks

    Thank you for that update! I applaud the governor for her no nonsense response to this attack on our management system. I intend to write the governor's office a thank you note for her strong defense of our state and its rights as a state!

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    Including Alaska in any cookie-cutter management plan, whether for wildlife, Refuges, National Forests, Parks, etc... is just a bad idea. This state is not like any other and we have our own issues, totally independent from the rest of the nation.

    I, too, applaud Governor Palin's response. I think anyone that proposes bills that includes Alaska, needs to be required to live here for a decade or more to understand the consequences of such plans.

    It will never happen, but that's my .02, for what it's worth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DPhillips View Post
    Including Alaska in any cookie-cutter management plan, whether for wildlife, Refuges, National Forests, Parks, etc... is just a bad idea.
    I couldn't agree more. For me it goes all the way back to 9-11 when they shut down all flying. First of all, shutting down the entire NATION'S air travel for three days was moronic in the extreme but refusing Uncle Ted's requests to open Alaska's airspace to certain flights was so...so...so, well hell, I cannot come up with an adjective to describe just how bad it was. Typical government BS.

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    Thats what we get for not listening to the Alaskan voters twice... Californians appealing to their leadership to do it for us. It sucks for us, but thats what happens when we elect morons to lead this state.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default what?

    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Thats what we get for not listening to the Alaskan voters twice... Californians appealing to their leadership to do it for us. It sucks for us, but thats what happens when we elect morons to lead this state.
    Let's make sure we don't (elect morons) for the future either!

    You absolutely show your anti hunting sentiments.

    Kudu's to Gov. Palin for her response. Let Californian's run their own mess of a state. I think we are doing just fine here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    Let's make sure we don't (elect morons) for the future either!

    You absolutely show your anti hunting sentiments.

    Kudu's to Gov. Palin for her response. Let Californian's run their own mess of a state. I think we are doing just fine here.
    Well said, spoken like a true Alaskan! I think that's a sentiment most of us agree with. Too bad California can't take care of their own backyard.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Thats what we get for not listening to the Alaskan voters twice... Californians appealing to their leadership to do it for us. It sucks for us, but thats what happens when we elect morons to lead this state.
    So you think voters should determine how wildlife is managed instead of biologists?

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    Ballot box biology is never a good thing....

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    Powdermonkey was just pointing out that Alaskans have twice voted against arial predator control.

    Also this isn't about biology it is politics. To claim otherwise is wrong. Some want more moose and bou. That is fine, but it is also politics not biology. Are bous and Moose in danger of dying out? No? See that would be biology.

    So the entire issue is ballot box biology. BOG wants more game. simple.

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    Default Sara

    I am very impressed with Sara's stance on this issue.
    Marc Theiler

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    Thumbs down No...

    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Thats what we get for not listening to the Alaskan voters twice... Californians appealing to their leadership to do it for us. It sucks for us, but thats what happens when we elect morons to lead this state.
    ...that's what happens when people from other states attempt to manage Alaska's wildlife issues instead of minding their own business (like keeping Mexicans on their side of the border).

    Wildlife management should be left to game and fish boards who listen to ALASKAN citizens in the proper forum, and most of all to biologists. It shouldn't be left up to workaday citizens in referendums who perhaps have little understanding of predator/prey dynamics.

    With that mindset, monkey (letting outside interests dictate f&g management), it won't be long until the PETA types from the lower 48 are telling you that you can't play with your beloved wild rainbows. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Wildlife management should be left to game and fish boards who listen to ALASKAN citizens in the proper forum, and most of all to biologists. It shouldn't be left up to workaday citizens in referendums who perhaps have little understanding of predator/prey dynamics.
    I'd go you one farther. I'd leave it up to the biologists with no input from the public, hunter or otherwise. There's no evidence that individual hunters are any brighter than non hunters when it comes to understanding game herd dynamics. Their goal should be healthy game populations balanced by healthy habitat. Period. There should be no manipulating of populations because hunters want more animals to kill than the habitat can support.

    If they want more predators taken, they can encourage more trapping or hunting in given units. If hunters want to help out with that, they can put in the time and effort to balance things out. Heck, it just equates to more time in the woods. And if you believe it means more game animals, then you're helping yourself. That's the Alaskan way.

    If the biologists decide there is an emergency and predators need to be drastically reduced ASAP, they can go out and take them from helicopters for all I care, but to send out private citizens in planes to shoot them from the sky and call it hunting is a black eye publicly for all hunters.

    Turning Alaska into a giant game farm where success is all but guaranteed is not my idea of hunting here.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default The bigger picture

    Check out this editorial in today's Newsminer:
    http://newsminer.com/2007/10/05/9209

    The editorial was interesting on a couple levels. I was pretty shocked at this sentence:
    "The state even offered a bounty last year in hopes of increasing the wolf control kill."

    Bounties are clearly illegal...and it's stuff like this that just hammers our Alaska management even more, using an example of an illegal act by the state to justify another aspect of the control programs.

    Inre what Sayak said, I wanted to point out that one does not have to be an Alaskan resident to submit proposals to or speak before our Board of Game or Board of Fisheries. We have a system in place that allows for "Outsiders" to have considerable influence in how we manage our fish and game. Especially in the fisheries side, which caters to so many non-resident interests in the sport fish realm. One also does not have to be an Alaskan resident to be a fishing or hunting guide. I strongly oppose Congressman Miller's PAW legislation, but I think people aren't seeing the big picture here...and the big picture to my mind is that the perception of hunting and hunters and Alaska hunting and hunters continues to take a huge hit and it's only going to get worse.

    How many of you know about Governor Palin's bill before the legislature next session to amend and rewrite our Intensive Management law? If her bill passes, it would legalize the aerial gunning of brown bears by ADFG personnel. Just like our current IM law was a backdoor way of instituting wolf control if/when certain moose and caribou population and harvest objectives weren't being met, so too would this new bill mandate bear control as well. It also will define certain things such as this:
    * Sec. 5. AS 16.05.255(j) is repealed and reenacted to read:
    (j) In this section,
    "active management" includes predator control;
    (2) "providing for a high level of human harvest" means allowing
    allocation of a sufficient portion of the harvestable surplus of a game population to achieve a high probability of success for human harvest of the game population based on biological capabilities of the population and considering all hunter demand.

    Note the phrase "high probability of success" and "considering all hunter demand." At this point, I should thank Twodux for his post, cuz he gets what is going on - thanks Twodux.

    The next thing we will likely see on every news channel this winter is folks like Congressman Miller (or perhaps maybe even Alaskans next time) standing before the cameras with Bart the Bear, asking the rest of the country if they think shooting Bart from helicopters or airplanes is prudent wildlife management. Then you will hear something along the lines of "most hunters favor the aerial gunning of bears to boost low moose or caribou populations." Or, "hunters don't want to hunt in areas where there is not a high probability of success."

    At what point do we hunters recognize that enough is enough, that we are taking a huge hit and it stands to really influence public perception of hunting? And that we are moving toward "demanding" more moose and caribou to the point that we are going to institute management schemes and programs that will negatively affect habitat and wildlife dynamics for a long time. It seems we'd turn everything into a Taylor Hwy zoo hunt if we could, cuz by golly that's what hunters "demand," motorized access for all and a high probability of success. Indeed, the push is on to turn Alaska into one giant game farm where wolves and bears are scarce and all the IM units have moose and caribou just waiting to be taken by supposedly hungry "Alaskan" hunters.

    Included in Palin's good and warranted letter of response to Miller was the same spin I've heard now for a while, about how our pred-control efforts are being done to put food on the tables of Alaskans. That is just pure BS in many cases. Even before the most recent and ongoing pred-control campaign in Unit 20E off the Taylor hwy, non-residents were allowed to hunt caribou and moose. If game populations were so poor, why was the state allowing "trophy" hunters from Outside to hunt there? In no way are most of the control plans done to just provide for Alaskans who want game meat to feed their families...that's a part of it certainly, but they are also being conducted so that in future we can again bring in more non-resident hunters because they are who funds the vast bulk of our ADFG budget. Our system of management priorities in the state must cater to non-resident interests across the board, simply from a financial standpoint. In that light, I find all this talk about California trying to interfere with our management to be a bit lacking in real substance...Outside interests determine how we manage our fish and game already!
    <End rant>

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    Default Compass piece

    This Compass Piece by Vic Van Ballenberghe is a great addition to this discussion. Vic was a three time Board of Game member and a respected biologist. He brings up a relevant question. What cost are we willing to pay to cover a bad policy?

    http://www.adn.com/opinion/compass/s...-9272313c.html

    I might add, that my opinion is that while hunting is an ethical, justifiable, healthy, natural pursuit, we as hunters need to quit shooting ourselves in the foot with this attitude that we'll do it however and by whatever means and everyone else be d**ned. We need a system we can justify to the average person, hunter or non-hunter. Most people are reasonable if we are also reasonable. When we let the whackos loose, we are going to get whakos back at us.

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    Ok look, if Frank and the BOG actually upheld the results of the ballot inituative then Defenders of Wildlife would not have had to go to the federal government to get a law passed that did what the voters of Alaska wanted... TWICE and we wouldn't find ourselves in the mess we have right now. Does that seem logical to everyone else?

    But don't blame me I was 15 at the time and couldn't vote.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default ballot box biology

    why do people think that the ballot box should have any place for game management?
    Here is a perfect example of what I mean..
    many years ago my oldest son played in a high school basketball tournament in Orange County during the christmas break,, (I mean the winter break) lol... anyway ,,, we went to a swap meet on a saturday afternoon located at an old drive Inn theatre... they boasted that over 100,000 people came to the swap meet each weekend...
    at the swap meet amoung all the stands selling cheap knock off's was a booth operated by PETA.. they had a hot looking chick in short pants sitting behind a table... the booth walls were covered in large posters of dead animals such as coyote, bobcat etc. each picture was a animal that was caught in a steel trap.. all very ugly images.. some of rotted animals that had been left for weeks in the traps... on the table in front of this lovely lady was a steel trap that had the old saw tooth jaws,,,. With a broken off fox leg still in its clutches.. .. (useless and ileagle since before I was born) The nice lady was asking for signitures from the people at the swap meet.. these signatures were to be used to get a anti trapping ban on the ballot......
    Now the people at the swap meet were mostly urban people. Many have never seen any of the animals they were signing to protect. some of the people signing were clearly impacted emotionally by what they saw and were outraged at what they saw... they were being hit by the one sided pictures and stories of PETA..
    The laws were passed by people that had no interest really in the resource, they were not truly educated to the truth ,,and yet the ballot box was used in this way to outlaw trapping....
    This is a perfect example of why we should never allow the ballot box to be used for,, or in anyway to manage our wildlife resources... If you think you can pick and choose ,, like some think well,, " I want to catch and release fish,, but hunting a bear for its rug is bad ".. This type of mentality will end up getting the fish and release crowd out of the catch and release sport faster than they can spell catch and release... PETA does not like fisherman any more than they like bear hunters.... They know its gonna take getting a little here,,and a little there but if they can get any its more than none...
    the user group is smaller in number than the total population and its a sure bet what the outcome will be.....
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

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    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    Powdermonkey was just pointing out that Alaskans have twice voted against arial predator control.....
    Which is (by definition)...............ballot box biology!

    .....Also this isn't about biology it is politics.....
    Which is exactly what ballot box biology is all about.

    .....Are bous and Moose in danger of dying out?....
    No. They might be in danger of a precipitous crash (like what occured in the 1970's) from which recovery is a long, slow, painful affair.

    ....So the entire issue is ballot box biology. BOG wants more game. simple.
    BOG wants balance through management.

    Anti-hunters want an end to all hunting, and are focusing their attention on predators, which people don't eat, and which is an easier political target for them to aim at.

    As the increased predators crash the ungulate population, hunting opportunity is lessened, thus eventually reducing humans hunting. This has occured in this very manner in California over the past 30 years, and they are now exporting the tactic elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Ok look, if Frank and the BOG actually upheld the results of the ballot inituative then Defenders of Wildlife would not have had to go to the federal government to get a law passed that did what the voters of Alaska wanted...
    And everybody goes home and lives happily ever after, right?

    Isn't that how all your fantasies end up?

    ....Does that seem logical to everyone else?...
    I suppose it's logical to those who haven't seen these kooks escalate their ideology over the past 40 years.

    ....But don't blame me I was 15 at the time and couldn't vote.
    And now you're.................16?

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    Wildlife cannot be managed from the ballot box. Those issues should never be brought before the voting public that has no idea what they are voting on. That is the job of the Dept of Fish and Game, and the Game Board, as mandated by the Alaska Constatution. The issue to ban areial wolf hunting was brought forth to the ballot by a group who's sole intent is to ban all hunting and fishing period. They are chisiling away one issue at a time. That is their method to eventually turn us all into vegaterians, and to have wolves and bears in our back yards. Too bad if they eat our kids we should not be living in their territory. They (wolves and bears) were here first.

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