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Wild-Game Management: People vs. Wolves

Regarding the editorial "Alaska Versus the Wolves," Dec. 4: It is gratifying to see the Monitor take a position on Alaska's complex preservation and conservation issues. I am also pleased that you share my opinion in opposition to the aerial assault on Alaska's wolves.

Sadly, the editorial supports the prime argument made by pro-hunt interests including the governor, the Alaska Game Board, and hunters. On the whole, the pro-hunt interests have a frontiersman approach to resources, which is inclined toward exploitation for the benefit of humans. Their archenemy is Washington and environmentalists.

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The inaccuracies in the editorial include describing moose as herd animals; stating that the wolf hunt is for the benefit of tourists who come to hunt - it is primarily for local and subsistence hunters; and stating that conservationists are up against the tourist industry and the governor. Most tourists want the wolves, as evidenced by the mass cancellation of vacations to Alaska in protest of state game policy.

In the end you get it right. The problem isn't the wolves. The problem is that people think that they can manage wild game better than wolves. History tells us that just the opposite is true. Steve Posgate, Eagle River, Alaska

The editorial does a good job of placing the blame for depletion of game on the hunter. But it fails to recognize that nearly all of the money that goes to wildlife management is derived from hunter's license fees. Nowhere was the fact mentioned that hunters usually harvest 2 percent to 3 percent of available big-game prey, while wolves and bears in Alaska harvest 20 percent to 30 percent. Why not mention that this plan encompasses only about 3 percent of Alaska's lands?

Alaska has recognized nonhunting values by placing 39 percent of the state off-limits to intensive management of predator-prey systems. Throw in areas ecologically unsuitable, and more than half of Alaska is unavailable for intensive management. If the moose and caribou populations are allowed to increase, they will support larger ravens, wolverines, marten, and mice.

As usual, hunters alone will pay the management costs through license fees. Phil Summers, Fairbanks, Alaska

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