This bill would prohibit a person from using a snare with the intent of trapping a wolf. It would also prohibit a person from possessing, buying, selling, or offering to sell the skin of a wolf known by the person to have been caught with a snare. Breaking the law would be a Class A misdemeanor.
SHOULD THIS INITIATIVE BECOME LAW?
LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY SUMMARY
This measure prohibits the use of a snare with the intent to trap a wolf. The measure also prohibits a person from possessing, selling, purchasing, or offering to sell or purchase the skin of a wolf that the person knows was taken with a snare. A violation of this measure is punishable as a class A misdemeanor.
FULL TEXT OF PROPOSED LAW
Be it enacted by the people of the State of Alaska:
AS 16.05 is amended by adding a new section to read:
Section 16.05.784. PROHIBITED METHODS OF TRAPPING WOLVES. (a) A person may not use a snare with the intent of trapping a wolf.
(b) A person may not possess, purchase, offer to purchase, sell, or offer to sell the skin of a wolf known by the person to have been caught with a snare.
(c) A person who violates this section is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT
Why killing Wolves with Wire Snares Should Be Banned
Killing wolves with wire snares should be prohibited because this method of trapping wolves is cruel and unethical, often kills many non-target animals, and may kill too many wolves at one time.
Wire snares are cheap and easy to make. These thin wire nooses are set out in large numbers, like drift nets, along known wolf paths. They can kill many family members of a wolf pack at one time, including pups. Trappers sometimes leave snares in the field at the end of the season because it's not worth their time and effort to recover them. These abandoned snares continue to kill after the close of trapping season.
Snares do not always kill quickly. They sometimes catch animals by the foot, leg, midsection or nose. Data from the state-sponsored wolf snaring program of 1993-1994 prove that many animals - more than one-third - die slowly, sometimes suffering for days. There are no regulations requiring trappers to check their snares regularly and the Board of Game has rejected reform proposals. Many animals remain caught in snares for days, dying slow and painful deaths from starvation, dehydration, mutilation from their struggle, and exposure.
It is well-documented that snares catch other species, such as caribou, moose, bear and eagles. In the state-sponsored program nearly 50% of the animals caught were non-target species. Non-target animals may also die long and painful deaths, and frequently act as bait for more wolves to come into the area saturated with snares.
This is not good wildlife management. This is not "fair chase." And this is not a time-honored tradition to be proud of. This is irresponsible, unethical and cruel.
What this Ballot Measure WILL NOT Do
This ballot measure:
will not make it illegal to take wolves by other means
will not make it illegal to snare other fur bearers
will not make it illegal to buy, sell or possess wolf skins snared before the new statute goes into effect
Snaring Continues in Spite of Public Disapproval
The Alaskan public already expressed its displeasure with snaring wolves during a state-sponsored wolf snaring program in 1993-94. Candid videos of the ugly and disturbing realities of that wolf snaring program resulted in the state terminating the program in early 1995. However, private trappers have continued to snare wolves in increasing numbers. More wolves were snared in 1997 than were snared during the last year of the state's program.
The only real change in the status of snaring wolves is that now there is more of it, and it's done privately.
You CAN Help
Alaskan voters can stop the use of snares to trap wolves. Please - go to the polls and vote YES on #9.
Alaskans Against Snaring Wolves, Inc.
Kneeland Taylor, Chair; Sarah Clampitt, Coordinator
STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION
Alaskan voters would do well to vote NO on the Alaska Wolf Snaring Initiative. Legally trapping wolves is not a sport, but a way to provide a living for many Alaskans. Alaska Natives have used snares to harvest wolves and other wildlife for thousands of years. This initiative, if passed, would end this time-honored tradition.
Not only would the initiative prohibit the use of snares, it would ban the ownership of all wolf pelts known to have been taken in snares. This would force Alaskans to destroy or turn over to the government many valuable items of winter clothing. As alarming, ancestral heirlooms and items of cultural and ceremonial importance to Native Alaskans would suddenly be illegal and forbidden.
The Wolf Snaring Initiative has no "grandfather clause" exempting these heirlooms. Further, every article of clothing you now own made with wolf pelts, such as a parka with a wolf ruff, would become illegal. It is impossible to know whether or not the ruff came from a snared wolf.
In rural Alaska, trapping provides one of the only sources of cash available during the winter months. Many trappers depend on income from the sale of trapped furs. Trappers are honest, hardworking people and it is not fair to take away the tools they need to feed their families and pay their bills.
The Alaska Board of Game goes through an extensive public involvement process before they consider any changes to hunting, trapping or wildlife management regulations. This process is open and fair to every Alaskan, unlike the initiative process that can sometimes be manipulated by well-funded, out-of-state animal rights groups. These groups from the Lower 48 use emotion rather than facts and science to promote their animal rights agenda and tell Alaska residents how they should manage their wildlife.
Trapping, including the use of snares, has worked well as a wildlife management tool for years. According to the Alaska Board of Game, wolves taken in snares die quickly and humanely. Modern snares have been developed to be even more humane and effective. Modifications, for example, have been developed that allow automatic release of accidentally snared moose.
Alaskans have a great track record of evaluating and regulating the methods and means of harvesting wildlife humanely. The Board of Game process, with extensive public input, works well and is responsive to balancing the needs of Alaska's growing population and wildlife's management needs. To hastily vote in this proposed new law without taking into consideration the social, economic, and cultural impacts would be unwise and unfair.
Out of respect for Alaska's wildlife and people, please vote NO on the Wolf Snare Ban.
Coalition for the Alaskan Way of Life
Co-Chairs: Ben Hopson Jr., Gabe Sam, Pete Buist