October 12, 2007
October 12, 2007 - In September, a California lawmaker presented a bill designed to put an end to Alaska's aerial wolf control program.
Rep. George Miller (Calif.) introduced the House bill in the Committee on Natural Resources. He was joined by Rep. John Dingell (Mich.) and Rep. Norm Dicks (Wash.).
Miller said Alaska's wolf control program is illegal because it violates the Airborne Hunting Act, passed by Congress in 1972 to prohibit shooting or harassing animals from aircraft.
Miller said his bill would require that Alaska officials prove they are responding to "legitimate biological and other emergencies" to conduct airborne hunting.
The bill does not alter existing exceptions for the use of aircraft for animal control where land, livestock, water, pets, crops or human health and safety are at risk, Miller said.
Alaska's Board of Game approved the aerial wolf control program to boost moose and caribou numbers in several areas of Alaska. The program was begun in the McGrath area in the interior and has since been expanded to five areas of the state.
The bill has drawn strong opposition from some lawmakers, including Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who strongly responded to the bill in a letter addressed to Miller.
"Predator control is not hunting; it is a carefully prescribed directed management action. Airborne hunting is illegal. Our science-driven and abundance-based predator management programs enlists volunteers permitted to use aircraft to kill predators in specified areas of the state where we are trying to increase opportunities for Alaskans to put healthy food on their families' dinner tables," Palin wrote.
As of now, there has been no date set for the bill to be marked up in committee. Reprinted in part from the Associated Press