Alaska’s aerial hunting policy was explained during the campaign, but either those on the left don’t understand it or they do and they just want to score political points against a rising GOP star. I suspect Ashley Judd, who has joined a campaign against aerial hunting, is mainly looking for some free media. (I haven’t seen her in anything that wasn’t a political ad in quite some time.) For those who need a refresher, Noel Sheppard reminds readers of the reason aerial hunting of wolves is allowed in Alaska and the reason bounties are offered. As shocking as it might be to some, it is not because Sarah Palin is a sadistic bloodthirsty monster.
What’s astounding here is that nowhere in the ad is the viewer apprised of why the wolves are being hunted, or the history beyond this policy. Instead, as graphic video rolls of a wolf being shot, Judd says, “Using a low-flying plane, they kill in winter when there is no chance for the wolves to escape.”
Ummm…that’s the point. After all, the wolves aren’t being hunted for sport. They’re numbers are being intentionally reduced to increase the population of moose and caribou which Alaskans depend on for food and wolves prey on.So in these tough economic times Ashley Judd wants to take food off of Alaskan tables? That makes as much sense as those who believe Palin wants to shoot wolves from airplanes for the fun of it.
Noel Sheppard provides a ton of information on the practice including this from the Wildlife Conservation division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
Wolves and bears are very effective and efficient predators on caribou, moose, deer and other wildlife. In most of Alaska, humans also rely on the same species for food. In Alaska’s Interior, predators kill more than 80 percent of the moose and caribou that die during an average year, while humans kill less than 10 percent. In most of the state, predation holds prey populations at levels far below what could be supported by the habitat in the area. Predation is an important part of the ecosystem, and all ADF&G wolf management programs, including control programs, are designed to sustain wolf populations in the future.
The Alaska Board of Game approves wildlife regulations through a public participation process. When the Board determines that people need more moose and/or caribou in a particular area, and restrictions on hunting aren’t enough to allow prey populations to increase, predator control programs may be needed. Wolf hunting and trapping rarely reduces wolf numbers enough to increase prey numbers or harvests.
Currently, five wolf control programs are underway that comprises about 9.4% of Alaska’s land area. The programs use a closely controlled permit system allowing aerial or same day airborne methods to remove wolves in designated areas. In these areas, wolf numbers will be temporarily reduced, but wolves will not be permanently eliminated from any area. Successful programs allow humans to take more moose, and healthy populations of wolves to continue to thrive in Alaska.Sheppard also provides information about the reason for bounties and some quotes from the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund website which reveal the motivation behind the current campaign against Palin.