THE ALASKAN WOLF WAR: THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE MISSING IN ACTION (.pdf file - 199.69 KB)
By Edward A. Fitzgerald
Wolf killing in Alaska is authorized by the Board of Game (BOG), an agency captured by hunting and trapping interests. The BOG’s wolf killing policies have generally been supported by state legislatures and governors. Alaskan courts have not halted the wolf killing. The courts have viewed wolf killing as an issue of administrative law and deferred to BOG expertise. This article argues that the courts should have invoked Alaska’s public trust doctrine, which prevents the granting of preferences over state natural resources. The courts should have also rigorously examined the BOG’s wolf killing policies and protected the wolf as a valuable public trust resource. The BOG’s wolf killing policies have not been supported by the public, leading to ballot initiatives to protect the wolf. Congress is currently considering the Protect America’s Wildlife Act, which will prevent the same day airborne hunting of Alaska’s wolves.