Have you heard about Alaska's Ballot Initiative 05 Hunt? In order to understand the importance of this initiative, you first need to know that Alaska wildlife managers estimate 86 percent of all annual mortality for sheep, moose and caribou is due to predation? Another 10 percent is from natural causes, such as age, disease or starvation. Only four percent of the annual mortality rate for these species is from human harvest, and that includes subsistence hunting. These figures are important because there's a ballot initiative scheduled for vote in Alaska this coming August which could put an end to the existing State Predator Management Program and severely limit the ability of the Department of Fish and Game to effectively manage Alaska's wildlife resources. Specifically, if passed, the initiative would repeal the Board of Game's powers relating to predator control programs and make it more difficult and more expensive for Fish and Game to cull wolves and bears, especially using an aerial shooting program. It would also mandate that predator control programs be used only when prey populations have reached a point of irreversible decline without wolf or bear control. Some observers say this means a game population would need to be on the brink of extermination before a predator control program could be implemented.
So what is being done about this threat? A coalition of sportsmen and conservationists called Alaskans for Professional Wildlife Management (APWM) has come together to educate the Alaskan public about the truth behind Ballot Initiative 05 Hunt. You can read about APWM and their efforts on their web site at www.protectmoose.com. The Alaska Professional Hunters Association is among those supporting the group with a contribution of $10,000. Much more is needed to effectively fight this effort. Sport hunters interested in joining the fight can make a donation through the above-mentioned web site.
The Alaska ballot initiative, it should be noted, is not unique. Similar initiatives are being pushed by anti-hunting groups across the country. The specific activity or species varies from mountain lions in California to doves in Wisconsin, but what they all have in common........(continued)