By Glen Wunderlich
Fundamental change is, once again, being thrust upon Americans by the autocrats in Washington D.C. This time, it involves a controversial and inexplicable maneuver that reeks of hypocrisy. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and its appointed director, Dan Ashe, have issued new regulations closing 77 million acres of land in Alaska to state wildlife management, including effective predator control and other established means and methods of hunting and trapping.
First, the hypocrisy: This is the same FWS that has banded together with states in the Great Lakes region, including Michigan, in a lawsuit to return wolves to state management. And, since the management of wildlife has always been the responsibility of each individual state according to its priorities, how does the heavy hand of central command’s rulers swing so much legal clout? It doesn’t!
Our wildlife doesn’t belong to Washington, D.C. or any landowner; it belongs to the states. When we purchase hunting and fishing licenses, we do some from state agencies and are required to follow the laws of the respective states issuing said licenses. There exists no federal management program for any wildlife. Until now.
When Alaska was granted statehood in 1959, its ownership and control of game populations – including that within federal lands – was specifically enumerated in three acts: Alaska Statehood Act (1959), Alaska Lands Act (1980), and the Refuge Improvement Act (1997). With the vested power of Congress, these acts were clearly approved.
Once again, the feds purport to know what’s good for us, as it dishes out the distasteful medicine. Ah, but there’s a fly in this ointment. Behind the scenes, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) – the most powerful anti-hunting lobby in the world that despises all forms of hunting and hunters – was thanked by Ash in a tweet.
The stench gets stronger. The rule changes include provisions that abruptly deny American citizens of their collective voice relative to management of the National Wildlife Refuge through the following:
- Doubling the length of emergency closures of refuge lands from 30 to 60 days
- Removing requirements for public hearings on such closures
- Complete elimination of the maximum length of a temporary closure
Mr. Ashe, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.
This precedent, if left unchallenged, shall lay the groundwork for non-affected city slickers to push their radical agendas throughout the nation.
As “We the People” are relegated to irrelevance, what is to prevent more power grabs in the Western states, where apex predators threaten to destroy what is left of its once-thriving populations of elk and mule deer?
The Sportsmen’s Alliance strongly opposes these rules and is working closely with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), Alaska hunters and hunting guides, and the Alaska Congressional Delegation to block the Obama Administration from enforcing these new “HSUS rules.”
Sustainability has been built into all regulated hunting since its inception. There is no movement to totally eradicate any species, including a couple years ago, when Michigan established a hunting season for wolves. A mere 23 wolves were taken by hunters – about half of the established quota – a small fraction of the 600-700 wolves roaming the northern reaches of the state.
It’s called game management and that’s what hunters do. And, that’s the way it should be.