May 12, 2007
The bill, House Bill 256 and Senate Bill 176, clarifies and simplifies the language of what is known as the "intensive management" law (AS 16.05.255 (e-g)), which requires the Alaska Board of Game to adopt regulations to restore populations of moose, caribou and deer in parts of the state where they have been depleted over time. During the last four winters, the state has been conducting predator control programs in some areas to build up moose and caribou herds.
"We have had good success in achieving lower wolf densities in the predator control areas during the first few years of the programs," said Matt Robus, Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation in the Department of Fish and Game. "There are now indications in our longest-established programs that moose populations are responding well to reduced levels of predation, and this will directly affect the harvestable surplus so that people will be able to harvest these animals for subsistence and personal use."
The Governor's bill clarifies state law that requires the Board of Game to implement regulations to help manage important game herds for both abundant numbers and abundant opportunities for Alaskans to harvest game. In addition, the bill uses the new term "active management," which is broader and is used in place of "intensive management." The bill also would eliminate several current requirements that have proven to be problematic for both the Board and the courts, and definitions that vary from existing usage within the wildlife management profession.
HB256/SB176 takes two laws
that were written to achieve almost exactly opposite purposes
and harmonizes them so that the state's game managers, the courts,
and the public will have less trouble understanding how they
work together and the legal requirements that apply in each situation.
The important principle of limiting use of airborne and same
day airborne shooting of large predators is retained, while the
process for conducting game management programs critical to meeting
the state's constitutional mandates is made simpler, more workable,
and more legally defensible.
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