January 28, 2023

Alaska Judge Rejects Animal Rights Group Plea – Wolf Hunt Will Continue

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Friends of Animals, a Connecticut based animal rights group, is still attempting to stop the aerial wolf hunts in Alaska. They petitioned the court to immediately halt the wolf hunt but Judge Sharon Gleason denied their request stating that the Board of Game acted properly in adopting emergency regulations to make the population control program conform to law.

On the 17th of January, the same judge ruled that the Board of Game violated its own program by not providing enough information as to why alternative means of population control wasn’t working.

This all comes from the Alaska Board of Game’s attempt to bolster the population of the moose and caribou in a region of the state that has too many wolves and bear – natural predators of the moose and caribou new-borns.

After other measures to control the populations failed, the Board of Game instituted an aerial hunt for wolves. The areas designated are remote areas that are not easily accessible and offering the chance to hunt wolves by air would encourage wolve harvesting. The Board of Game has instituted an emergency clause allowing them to stop the hunts as soon as they feel the goals have been reached.

Yesterday, it was announced that, for the first time ever, bear hides would be able to be sold. The sale of the hides, which can bring thousands of dollars for large brown bears, is hoped to be an incentive for hunters to hunt the bear to help reduce the population in these same areas.

During an emergency session, the Board of Game rewrote the rules and had them approved by the court. The Board announced the resumption of the aerial hunt.

The Friends of Animals lawyer, Jim Reeves, contented that the Board had no right to declare an emergency situation and that the proper processes should have been used, namely allowing for public comment – a trick to deliberately stall the hunt.

Assistant Attorney General Kevin Saxby, argued that if this hunt does not take place now, which is the prime time to accomplish what is necessary in the management plan, it will set the population management program back several years and cost taxpayers a lot of money. It would also be potentially devasting to the moose and caribou.

Judge Gleason ruled that under the emergency circumstances and that the changes that the Board made, did not expand the existing program. She also said that ample time had been given in the past for public comment and therefore no further comment was necessary.

The emergency plans enacted are temporary and would be subject to a complete regulatory process after May, when the prime hunt time has concluded.

You can read more about this story in this article.

Previous posts on the Alaska wolf hunt can be read here and here.

Tom Remington