To the editor: The Alaska Board of Game meeting in Fairbanks, which starts Friday and runs through March 14, will be another showcase for Alaska’s dysfunctional wildlife management system. For those wildlife conservationists who want to witness the spectacle, you may want to bring your Valium or Xanax. Seven (all-male) hunters, trappers, and guides, all hand-picked by Alaska’s hunting and trapping groups and then anointed by their governor and Legislature, will put on another one of their infamous, well-rehearsed, theatrical tragedies. The only real question at this meeting will be who will win best actor, best supporting actor and best screenplay.
Throughout the week, the board will pretend to listen to and consider endless testimony from Alaska citizens pleading with them to conserve, not kill, Alaska wildlife; the two-fold greater economic value of wildlife viewing to the state economy than hunting; the abhorrent ethics of predator control and baiting bears and wolves along park boundaries, and so on. And then, in continuing violation of Alaska’s constitutional mandate that wildlife must be managed for all Alaskans, and the overwhelming public interest in wildlife viewing rather than sport and trophy hunting, the board will do what it does best — ignore such asks.
Board members will clumsily try to invoke science while ignoring any actual science that doesn’t fit their personal bias. Studies show that proposals to kill Alaska wildlife have a far better chance of being approved by the game board than do conservation proposals. And thus, the unending charade of wildlife management in Alaska continues.