December 27, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 52

To the Editor

Can’t kill our way out of mess

To the Editor:

If we’ve reached a new biological cliff and are turning to preditor control as our last tool in the toolbox, it means we’ve failed. We’ve failed to manage ourselves and the need for a scapegoat. The reality is a number of human factors have led to dramatic declines in deer populations and we can’t simply kill our way out of this mess.

The state manages deer for maximum huntable populations. The problem is, the forest service manages the land for industrial clear cutting using a 30 year old faulty deer model to justify every sale.

For the deer, Mitkof Island and the Lindenburg Peninsula have shrunk from loss of habitat and degraded roaded habitat. The hard reality is the guideline harvest targets need to shrink as well.

The 900 deer a year number is an unrealistic non sustainable target. It was based on inflated numbers just 3 years after the Tonka road opened. When new areas get roaded, harvest numbers spike, then plummet. Now 12 years later, after record snow years, intense road hunting pressure, and another huge timber sale in the hopper for Tonka, the guideline harvest level hasn’t been adjusted to reflect the reality on the ground.

The history of secrecy and deceit, rampant in our public agencies, hasn’t helped things either. Now under Governor Parnell the “one voice policy” silences dissenting biologists and ensures state agencies tow the party line when addressing industrial projects. When industry and wildlife have competing interests, in this state, industry always wins.

Lastly weather has become a big contributor to deer decline. As the climate becomes more extreme, wildlife is stressed out like never before.

So the total deer decline equation is complicated with many variables: an unsustainable guideline harvest level, over hunting, road pressure, poor land management, degraded shrinking habitat, agencies that promote industrial interests, and extreme weather patterns. Ironically, the wolf has been stressed by the same variables. But so much less is known about their numbers or plight. Only the crudest guesses can be made about populations in management area 3 as no on the ground scientific data existed. All conjecture is thinly based on a twenty year old study from Prince of Whales Island. Eliminating a hypothetical 80% of wolves from unit 3 is a decision with no basis in scientific research. This isn’t good science, or bad science, it’s no science. That is an unacceptable standard when proposing extreme preditor control measures. In the middle ages killing all the wolves probably would’ve seemed like a good idea, but hopefully today we’re a little more enlightened. We need to insist that wildlife policies be rooted in the most site specific scientific modern data available, and that no radical experiments involving species irradication be tolerated.

We can’t afford a mistake of this magnitude.

Please take a minute to visit the Alaska department of Fish and Game website, and fax public comments on the feasibility analysis to 907-465-6095.

Joan Kautzer

We had a voice

To the Editor:

On behalf of C CUB, Concerned Citizen’s of the Unorganized Borough, I would like to thank the many individuals who helped us have our “voice”. Those of you who wrote letters to the editor, made radio commentaries, talked with folks, became voter registrars, volunteered your land for signs, assisted with brochures and gave monetarily and more, each of your efforts were greatly appreciated. I believe there are at least two sides to a story and each should be represented and respected for their qualities and their short comings, but most importantly is that each side is represented. With your help we had a voice and it resonated. C CUB awaits the final Borough vote tally. No matter what the final outcome of the Borough, C CUB encourages all of you to raise your voices together, to stand up for your beliefs and exercise your right to freedom of speech.

Laura Howard

Keene Channel

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