Alaska Official Election Pamphlet
BALLOT MEASURE NO. 3: Bill Prohibiting Same Day Airborne Hunting
This bill would bar hunting wild wolf, wolverine, fox, or
lynx the same day a person was airborne. However, the
board of game could allow aerial wolf control if the
Commissioner of Fish and Game declared a biological
emergency, where wolves in a specific area were causing
irreversible loss of a prey population. The law wouldn't
apply to people airborne the same day on regular,
scheduled commercial flights. Breaking the law would be
a misdemeanor. The penalty could be jail time up to one
year, a fine up to $5,000, and forfeiture of aircraft or gear
used in the offense.
Should this initiative become law?
Yes [ ]
No [ ]
LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY SUMMARY:
This measure prohibits persons from shooting wolf,
wolverine, fox, or lynx on the same day that the persons
were airborne. This measure would not apply to persons
who were airborne only on certain commercial flights.
This measure allows the board of game to permit
shooting of wolves from the air under certain conditions.
A violation of this measure would be a misdemeanor.
FULL TEXT OF PROPOSED LAW:
Be it enacted by the people of the State of Alaska
Sec. 16.05.783. PROHIBITION OF SAME-DAY
AIRBORNE HUNTING. (a) A person may not shoot or
assist in shooting a free-ranging wolf, wolverine, fox, or
lynx the same day that a person has been airborne.
However, the board of game may authorize a wolf control
program involving the shooting of wolves from the air if
(1) the Commissioner of Fish and Game makes
written findings based on adequate data demonstrating
that a biological emergency exists and that there is no
feasible solution other than airborne control to eliminate
the biological emergency, and
(b) This section does not apply to a person who was
airborne the same day if that person was airborne only on
a regularly scheduled commercial flight.
(2) the program is conducted only by Department
of Fish and Game personnel
(3) the program is limited to the specific
geographical area where the biological emergency exists,
(4) the program removes only the minimum
number of wolves necessary to eliminate the biological
(c) A person who violates this section is guilty of a
misdemeanor, and upon conviction is punishable by a fine
of not more than $5,000, or by imprisonment for not more
than one year, or by both. In addition, the court may order
the aircraft and equipment used in or in aid of a violation
of this section to be forfeited to the State.
(d) In this section,
(1) "free-ranging" means that the animal is wild
and not caught in a trap or snare;
(2) and "biological emergency" means a condition
where a wolf population in a specific geographic area is
causing the irreversible decline of a prey population to the
point that the prey population may not likely recover
without implementing wolf control.
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT:
Proposition No. 3 gives all Alaskans their first opportunity
to VOTE ON WHETHER AERIAL HUNTING OR
TRAPPING OF WOLVES SHOULD BE BANNED except
when conducted by the state to avert a biological
emergency and no other feasible solutions are available.
Wolverines, fox and lynx would be included in the ban.
CURRENT REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT WOLVES
CAN BE SPOTTED, TRACKED AND PURSUED WITH
THE USE OF AIRCRAFT before landing and shooting.
Under heavy lobbying pressure from special interest
groups seeking ever higher hunting quotas, THE
LEGISLATURE IS PURSUING A RECKLESS COURSE
OF MANDATING WOLF CONTROL TO TRIPLE THE
HARVEST OF WOLVES in vast areas of Alaska. This will
artificially increase moose and caribou numbers far
beyond historic levels and can only be accomplished by
aerial hunting and trapping. The Wolf Management
Reform Coalition organized this initiative effort because
WE FEEL WOLVES SHOULD INSTEAD BE HUNTED
ON A FAIR CHASE BASIS AND MANAGED FOR
BIOLOGICAL REASONS RATHER THAN POLITICAL
ONES. The Coalition includes ex-Governor Jay
Hammond, ex-Lt. Governor Lowell Thomas Jr., Jim
Brooks - former Commissioner of Fish and Game,
Douglas Pope - former Chairman of the Board of Game
and other long time Alaskans, many of whom are hunters.
The same day use of an aircraft to spot, track and pursue
other big game animals has long been banned except in
very limited circumstances because it does not constitute
fair chase hunting. The current law which permits SO-
CALLED "LAND AND SHOOT" HUNTING OR TRAPPING IS VIRTUALLY UNENFORCEABLE in
Alaska's vast wilderness and in fact encourages unlawful
conduct on the part of wolf hunters and trappers. And the
practice of artificially increasing moose and caribou to
unrealistically high levels through aircraft assisted wolf
control will lead to the long term deterioration of the wolf,
moose and caribou populations. Already, THE AVERAGE
NUMBER OF WOLVES REPORTED KILLED IN 1994 IS
DOUBLE THE AMOUNT KILLED IN 1989. This does not
account for the illegal and unreported take, which may
equal the reported harvest.
THE INITIATIVE ALLOWS CONVENTIONAL HUNTING
AND TRAPPING of wolves and other furbearers and
permits the practice of nonlethal darting of those animals
from the air for scientific, research, or nonlethal control
programs carried out by the state. A biological
emergency, that would permit the state to engage in aerial
hunting under the initiative, arises when trend information
indicates that wolves are causing a moose or caribou
population to decline and that population cannot
reasonably be expected to recover without wolf control.
In the lower 48 predator populations have been all but
wiped out. WE SHOULD REMAIN DIFFERENT AND
WORK TO KEEP ALASKA'S WILDLIFE POPULATIONS
IN BALANCE BY MANAGING THEM ON A BIOLOGICAL
BASIS WHILE PROMOTING FAIR CHASE HUNTING.
Vote yes on Ballot Measure 3 for that future.
Co-Chairs,Wolf Management Reform Coalition
STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION
Three good reasons exist for Alaskans to vote NO on
Ballot Measure #3. First, the new law is not needed.
Second, the new law would prohibit necessary wildlife
conservation and management programs which benefit
wildlife and people. Third, managing wildlife by ballot
initiative discourages public participation in the
1. The Federal Airborne Hunting Act already prohibits
shooting wildlife from an aircraft. Also three Alaska
state regulations prohibit aerial shooting and land-and-shoot
hunting of furbearers, including wolves.
Current regulations on "same-day-airborne" shooting were
challenged as inadequate protection of furbearers in a
1994 lawsuit. The judge denied the complaint, based on
evidence from Fish & Wildlife Protection Division and
ADF&G that the regulations properly protect furbearers,
Under current laws, if predation is identified as the main
reason for a low moose or other prey population, no action
can be taken unless the Board of Game approves a plan
A 1994 ADF&G survey of Alaskan voters (not just hunters)
found that 47% of Alaskans surveyed supported wolf
control "in some areas of the state to increase moose and
caribou numbers". About 37% opposed the idea.
2. Even the smallest, most confined management
action -- designed to increase numbers in a severely
depressed prey population or to curb wildlife disease
-- could not use aircraft effectively if this Act is
approved by voters. If wolves zero in on pet dogs, sled
dogs, or livestock, immediate and "pack specific" action
could not be taken using aircraft. The Act would make it
impossible for the State to use aircraft for any reason
except a "biological emergency" in a prey population
(moose, sheep, caribou, etc.)
"Biological emergency" is defined too narrowly in the Act.
A careful reading of the initiative reveals that aerial control
could occur only if:
* wolves or other predators are causing an irreversible
decline of the prey; and
"Irreversible decline" and "adequate data" are not defined.
Lawyers and courts can easily claim the need for more
data or that the decline is not "irreversible".
* there is adequate data establishing that the above is true.
In addition, the use of tranquilizing darts fired from aircraft
could not occur unless a new law allowing that activity
was passed. This needlessly disallows a basic wildlife
management and research tool.
3. Managing wildlife by ballot initiative discourages
public participation in the management process.
Alaska's regulation making process is open to anyone
who cares to participate. Regulations can be made and
promoted -- or opposed -- by anyone. The Board of Game
is obligated to base its decisions on factual information or
risk revocation of its actions by the courts.
In summary, please vote NO on Ballot Measure No. 3
a) wolves and other large furbearers are adequately
protected under existing laws and populations are thriving;
Al Franzmann, D.V.M., Ph.D.
b) the Act would unnecessarily hamper needed management and research;
c) the Act would discourage informed public participation
in the wildlife management process.
for the Alaska Outdoor Council, Inc.
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