Letter: In response to Rep. Young’s reaction to wildlife rule change

Rep. Don Young was way off with his reaction to rule change of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Recently, the USFWS upheld a rule change to protect wildlife from the most barbaric and cruel hunting practices in the states National Wildlife Refuges. Rep. Don Young made a statement reacting to the rule change calling this a “unilateral power grab (that) fundamentally alters Alaska’s authority to manage wildlife across all areas of our state.” He went on to say that this rule change violates the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

In fact, under this ruling by USFWS, subsistence hunting remains unchanged in pursuant of the ANILCA. What has changed is that these 76 million acres of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, owned by all U.S. citizens, finally offers some protection to large carnivores, such as bears and wolves, from the most heinous, unsportsmanlike and barbaric hunting practices. Such practices as killing families of wolves in their dens, trapping bears with painful steel-jawed leghold traps, killing black bears while hibernating in dens along with their cubs, and killing bears that have been lured to bait stations rather than killed in a fair hunt.

All of these intensive management practices have been upheld by the Alaska Board of Game, a group of political appointees, all with extensive trapping and hunting experience, but lacking scientific backgrounds. The BOG also greatly lacks diversity, purposely leaving out the large majority of Alaskans that have non-consumptive interests in Alaskan wildlife. The ANILCA never gave the state permission to override federal authority on federal lands, yet the BOG has done so, unchecked, for almost 40 years. It’s about time the federal land managers stood up to the BOG’s rogue ways!

I ask that Rep. Young not mislead Alaskans by making this just about a federal government power play. It is an opportunity to bring back respectful treatment of wildlife to Alaska National Wildlife Refuges and abolish intensive management on public lands.

Michelle Anderson,