Alaska’s Controversial Aerial Hunting Program Claims the Webber Creek Pack
The National Park Service is at odds with the the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for killing the Webber Creek Pack, one of seven packs the park service is following in the Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve using GPS radio collars.
The Yukon-Charley superintendent, Greg Dudgeon, believes that the loss of the pack is a blow to the preserve’s 16-year research project and has requested an emergency closure to the general hunting and trapping seasons for wolves in the preserve.
To read more from the Anchorage Daily News, please click “Here”.
If your hackles are up and you agree that it is time to put an end to aerial hunting for good, please contact your representative and ask that they co-sponsor the Protect America’s Wildlife (PAW) bill.
For Sample message points, click “More”
Sample Message Points
• Over 35 years ago, Congress banned use of aircraft to hunt wolves and other wildlife by passing the Airborne Hunting Act (AHA) with great bipartisan support. But since 2003, over 1000 wolves in Alaska have been shot by private hunters using airplanes.
• The AHA does allow for the limited use of aerial gunning as a wildlife management tool. But the state’s aerial gunning program is unnecessary, unscientific and is spiraling out of control.
• The program lacks a scientific foundation and aims to virtually eliminate or drastically reduce wolf populations in nearly 60,000 square miles of Alaska.
• Alaska’s aerial gunning program also targets brown and black bears, including sows and cubs, by promoting use of aircraft for “land and shoot” hunting of bears in over 12,000 square miles of the state.
• Fortunately, Rep. George Miller (CA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) have introduced the Protect America’s Wildlife (PAW) Act to close the loophole in the Airborne Hunting Act.
• The PAW Act would:
o Clarify when states can use aircraft to kill wolves and other predators to protect wildlife (legitimate biological emergency of prey species, for example)
o Allow states to use aerial control to protect land, water, wildlife, livestock, domesticated animals, human life and crops
o Stop states from using aerial gunning to artificially boost game species populations
o Require states to provide a scientific foundation to use aircraft for wildlife management
• Alaska’s program is not legitimate wildlife management. The state’s aerial “predator control” is occurring in areas already suffering from an overabundance of prey. In March 2009, for example, the state removed 84 wolves from the Upper Yukon/Tanana area, an area they are now actively trying to reduce prey populations in, by allowing hunters to kill female moose. A surplus of prey species can result in overgrazing, starvation and the spread of disease among excessive prey.
• Wolves help maintain ecosystem health by keeping moose and caribou populations both in check and healthy by often preying upon old, sick and injured animals. Removing keystone predators such as wolves can cause long-term damage to fragile forest and tundra ecosystems.
• Shooting wildlife from aircraft or chasing wildlife with aircraft to exhaustion, then landing and shooting them at close range, is a clear violation of the rules of ethical hunting. Most hunters are opposed to the use of aircraft to hunt because, among other reasons, it is not considered “fair-chase hunting” and is unsportsmanlike.
• Other states are threatening to follow Alaska’s lead, making aerial gunning a national issue once again.
• SENATE ASK: Senators NAME and NAME should cosponsor the Protect America’s Wildlife Act (S. 1535)
• HOUSE ASK: Representative NAME should cosponsor the Protect America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 3381)
• It is time to stop this unnecessary and unscientific practice once and for all, to protect wolves, other predators, and ecosystems in Alaska and the lower 48 states.