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Predator Control in Alaska
(Note: Predator control and Intensive Management Law are two sides of the same coin.
Please be sure to also read our statement on Intensive Management.)

Alaska programs that kill wolves in order to boost moose and caribou numbers for hunters have long been controversial. Now, with grizzly bears being targeted by predator control programs, as well as widespread aerial gunning of wolves by private pilots, more and more hunters are questioning these programs and becoming mired in controversy.1

Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (AK BHA) fully agrees with Wayne Regelin, former Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), when he says, "Please do not rely on headlines or campaigns designed to sensationalize wolf control issues. When seeking information, ADF&G is a good place to start."

Accordingly, AK BHA has studied the management reports covering the five areas of the state now undergoing wolf and bear control programs.2 In some cases, predator control programs now underway go against the recommendations of seasoned area biologists, and in other cases there are no wildlife studies that support the need for such extreme predator control.

Intensive Management Law drives much of this, mandating predator control in order to create excessive population densities and harvests of moose and caribou. This politically-driven mandate handcuffs biologists and managers and puts future hunting at risk.

Alaska's wildlife management has become overly politicized to the point we are abandoning common sense and wildlife science.

Extensive predator control can also backfire. One example is the overpopulation of moose in Unit 20A on the Tanana Flats near Fairbanks. Wolf control worked so well that moose have overbrowsed the area so that willows have been replaced with poor forage such as alder. Pregnancy and twinning rates are dramatically reduced, and disease is much more prevalent. We must now "control" the overpopulation of moose with controversial cow and calf hunts that require more hunters to be in the field, creating hunter crowding, user conflicts, and habitat damage problems of their own.

Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers values and supports sound management and conservation of all of Alaska's indigenous wildlife. We fully understand and respect that predator management involving "control" efforts may at times be warranted. We support those efforts when they are based on sound science and endorsed by seasoned area biologists who are well-funded and free from political pressure.

1 Opinion Article on Predator Control Expansion

2 ADFG Management and Harvest Reports      Wolf Control Areas - not including expansions or bear-control zones

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