2000 GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT MEASURES
* Ballot Measure No. 6: Referendum - An Act Relating to Management of Game
Ballot Language - Legislative Affairs Agency Summary - Full Text - Statement in Support - Statement in Opposition
Voters are asked to either approve or reject a law allowing hunters to use airplanes to land and shoot wolves on the same day they fly. The law allows any person with a hunting or trapping license to land and shoot in areas established by the Board of Game. No additional permit may be required. The law also allows the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to use agents, as well as employees, to engage in same day airborne shooting of wolves. A yes vote rejects the law. A no vote approves the law.
SHOULD THIS LAW BE REJECTED? Yes or No
LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY SUMMARY
This measure refers chapter 20 of the Session Laws of Alaska for the year 2000 to Alaska voters for approval or rejection. The referred Act allows a person in certain areas identified by the state Board of Game to take a wolf on the same day that the person was airborne. Only a valid state license to hunt or trap is needed to take a wolf in those areas on the same day that the person was airborne. No other permit may be required as a prerequisite for a person to take a wolf on the same day that the person was airborne. The referred Act additionally allows agents of the state Department of Fish and Game to shoot or assist in shooting a wolf, wolverine, fox, or lynx on the same day that the agent was airborne.
FULL TEXT OF LAW TO BE APPROVED OR REJECTED
An Act Relating to Management of Game. Chapter 20, Session Laws of Alaska 2000.
*Section 1. AS 16.05.255 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
(i) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, in an area for which the board has adopted regulations under (e) of this section to provide for intensive management of an identified big game prey population by establishing a wolf control program, a person may take a wolf on the same day the person was airborne; however, a person may not shoot a wolf from the air under this subsection. For purposes of this subsection, a valid hunting or trapping license is a permit to take a wolf on the same day airborne for purposes of protecting wildlife, and no additional permit may be required by the board or department as a prerequisite to taking a wolf on the same day airborne.
* Sec. 2. AS 16.05.783 (b) is amended to read:
(b) This section does not apply to:
(1) a person who was airborne the same day if that person was airborne only on a regularly scheduled commercial flight; or
(2) an employee or agent of the department who, as part of a game management program, is authorized to shoot or to assist in shooting wolf, wolverine, fox, or lynx on the same day that the employee or agent has been airborne.
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT
A YES vote on Ballot Measure 6 overturns the state legislature's recent reauthorization of same-day airborne land-and-shoot wolf hunting -- an unsportsmanlike practice that an overwhelming majority of Alaskans voted to ban in 1996.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Frank Rue says, "the practice of land-and-shoot hunting is not acceptable to most Alaskans. To track and spot a wolf from an aircraft, land, and then kill it is not considered to be a fair-chase method. We also know from past experience that the practice leads to other abuses such as chasing wolves to exhaustion, herding wolves and shooting wolves from the air." Most hunters also regard the practice as unsporting. It is not "fair-chase hunting," according to the Boone and Crockett Club, founded by Teddy Roosevelt in 1887, one of the most prestigious of America's hunting groups.
Same-day airborne land-and-shoot wolf hunting is also objectionable because it is unenforceable due to the remoteness of Alaska; it is not an efficient way to control wolves when wolf control is necessary because the random shooting of wolves in an area is not directed at the ones that need to be controlled; and it gives wealthy urban airplane hunters an unfair advantage over rural hunters who have to travel by snowmachine, boat or foot.
Voting YES on Ballot Measure 6 would only prohibit people with a hunting or trapping license from using airplanes to hunt wolves on the same day. It would not prohibit more conventional ground-based hunting and trapping of wolves. It would also not prevent Alaska Department of Fish and Game professionals or their agents from shooting wolves from aircraft where wolf control is needed to protect rural subsistence or enhance game populations.
The organization promoting a YES vote on Ballot Measure 6 is ALASKANS FOR WILDLIFE, whose members include long-time Alaska residents former Lt. Governor, Lowell Thomas Jr.; former Commissioner of Fish and Game, Jim Brooks; former Department of Fish and Game biologists, John Schoen and Skip Wallen; former state Board of Game members, Douglas Pope and Joel Bennett; founding member of the Alaska Conservation Foundation, Celia Hunter; past President of the Alaska State Medical Board, Dr. James Thompson; outdoor writer, Richard Nelson; and wolf biologist, Dr. Paul Joslin.
Please vote YES on Ballot Measure 6. It gets rid of a bad wildlife law while sending a message to the Alaska legislature that voters meant it when they banned same-day airborne land-and-shoot wolf hunting the first time.
STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION
A recent attack by a wolf on a six-year-old boy in rural Alaska highlights the need to "VOTE NO" on Ballot Measure 6. The bill in question does not gut a 1996 voter initiative. It simply corrects a flaw in that initiative that has allowed wolves to become a threat to life and property in many communities in rural Alaska. A no vote will allow us to keep the corrected version on the books.
A "NO VOTE" will help prevent a repeat of what happened on April 26th, when a healthy wolf attacked a little boy playing outside his home near Yakutat. Fortunately, someone heard the boy's desperate screams and came to his rescue as he was being dragged into the woods to be eaten.
Just two months before this attack we were warned this would happen when representatives from towns throughout our state came to the legislature for help. They pleaded with the legislature to pass the law the animal rights groups are asking you to repeal. Wolves had decimated the game populations these people rely on for food and were boldly entering their towns killing family pets and threatening people. Their biggest fear was that starvation had removed wolves' fear of man and that they would soon move to the next most vulnerable target -- their children. The animal rights groups scoffed at their testimony and said this could never happen -- but tragically it did. A no vote is your chance to stand with these Alaskans instead of the outside animal rights groups -- the same groups who would end the Iditarod.
By voting no you are choosing to allow the Board of Game to keep an effective management tool in their duty to manage both game and predator populations.
A NO vote on Ballot Measure 6 will:
Protect Alaska's families and allow the Board of Game, after a rigorous public process, to permit shooting on the same day a person has been airborne "only in those areas" where a serious threat from over-populations of wolves exists. Currently that would only be in a tiny portion of the state -- roughly 5%.
Anyone who violates the ban, or harasses or shoots wolves from the air would still suffer serious consequences.
This is not about sport hunting. It is about a game management tool for the Board of Game. Taking away this tool because it somehow violates principles of fair-chase is the same as requiring animal control officers in your town to give rabid stray animals a fifteen-minute head start before they are caught and put to sleep.
Senator Pete Kelly