To fully appreciate what's underway in Alaska, you need to understand just what Private Land Wildlife Management is and what it is not! It is not the landowner permit programs that simply trade permits for hunter access. These programs are a far cry from the kind of comprehensive, integrated private land wildlife management programs that are beginning to emerge elsewhere nowadays. What we are talking about here is real wildlife management, including habitat improvements, resource census work and herd composition control among other activities - all aimed at enhancement and treatment of wildlife as a resource. Well-managed properties have shown dramatic increases in not only the numbers of animals, but also, trophy quality.
Private wildlife management in this country began to evolve when Western ranchers realized that they could charge hunters trespass fees. In those days, government wasn't involved with wildlife management on private ranches and the thought of habitat enhancement for wildlife was inconceivable. Then, Texans began installing high fences, transplanting wildlife and experimenting with habitat improvements and food plots. That was done with the cooperation and, at the very least, the blessing of governmental agencies.
The success of the efforts in Texas inspired landowners and officials in other states to experiment with various kinds of private land programs. The effectiveness of those programs varies widely. Certainly, the states of California and Colorado have enjoyed some success, and so have some tribal groups, such as on the White Mountain and Jicarilla reservations. Today, some of the best trophies in the West are being taken on private lands that have been specifically managed for wildlife. And, contrary to a common misconception when people hear the term private wildlife management, some of the best managed properties are not behind high fences!
To some extent,........(continued)