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Alaska Backcountry Hunters=Better Group
Posted by bushrat on May 05 2006
AOC supported (still does) opening the haul road corridor to atv and orv access. That bill just went down but Seekins and AOC will keep pushing it. AOC supported (still does) Seekins SB 170 and changes to our Fish and Game statutes beyond just a license and tag fee increase for ADFG. Because of AOCs stance on the recent ADFG budget crunch, because they pushed to make sweeping changes to our Fish and Game statutes as part of a simple budget bill, Fish and Game went without adequate funding AGAIN. No matter your personal stance as a hunter about how wildlife should be allocated, when ADFG is short-funded it hurts us all. The only recourse they have when they don't do aerial density estimates, surveys, collaring projects, research, is to err on the side of caution when recommending seasons and bag limits.

We already have Intensive Management law that mandates incredibly high densities of moose and caribou along with very high harvests. AOC was behind putting IM law on the books through lobbying and legislation in 1994, even against the advice of ADFG and professional managers. AOC now wants MORE legislative changes to our Fish and Game Statutes that seek to "grow more moose" beyond what is already stated in IM law. Some of the things they advocate are simply non-sensical. Why, for instance, are they going to continue supporting opening up the haul road to atv and orv access when they know full well that in doing so they will leave the feds and state with no option but to then make it a permit/draw hunt? How does that help caribou hunters? It only helps a very select few who want to hunt up there with atvs and orvs, at the expense of everyone else. Also, the majority of hunters oppose opening up the haul road to atv and orv access, so why is AOC going against the majority of the group they claim to support?

Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers supports public lands that hold wild places for wild animals. We support wilderness and recognize it as our greatest asset as hunters. We support real conservation of all species and a moderate approach to wildlife management that is based on sound science and long-term steady goals that seek to smooth out the peaks and valleys of wildlife populations. We support access for all hunters to our public lands for hunting and fishing, but at the same time we OPPOSE opening up the state to atv and orv access everywhere. Access to all hunters does not mean access for all types of mechanized vehicles hunters might use! This isn't to say we oppose atv and orv access in some places, but we don't want to see it become the norm statewide.

AOC has some good people. But since Murkowski took office, they have (like so many others) sought legislative "fixes" to perceived problems with wildlife management. They set precedents that ballot-box biology via the legislature can and should be the way we manage our wildlife. This is short-term thinking and a slap in the face to working biologists and trained wildlife managers. Murkowski won't be in office forever. The legislature will not be under the control of one party forever. What happens when there is again a shift in party and power? Well then they can do the same thing, practice this "revenge" mentality and push their own version of what they think hunting should be through via various bills and new legislative laws. And we will have AOC to thank for promoting ballot box biology by proxy as the best way to manage wildlife. Extremism vs. Extremism is NOT the way to manage our wildlife.

Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers firmly believes in moderation as an approach to wildlife management. We believe trained wildlife professionals, NOT POLITICIANS!, should have the authority and control to make the decisions about how best to manage our fish and wildlife. We believe in conservation and true wise-use of the land and waters. We stand behind a code of ethics in hunting and recognize hunters have an important role to play in society but also that society expects something of us in return. Our privilege to hunt comes with many responsibilities. We seek to put a better face on hunting and hunters.  

We must take care of what we have left. We must return to sound wildlife science. We must think decades down the line to what kind of Alaska we want to leave for future generations of hunters and anglers.

If you support opening the haul road to atv and orv access, then join AOC. If you support letting senator Seekins decide how best to manage our wildlife, then join AOC. If you support widespread predator control of wolves and bears FOREVER, then join AOC. If you support turning Alaska's backcountry into one in which a moose and caribou are supposed to be behind every tree and rock, and one in which you will be hunting in blaze orange, then join AOC.

If you do not support these things, we ask you to consider joining us at Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. We offer a new voice to Alaskan hunters. In the near future we will have a website up that discusses Alaskan focus issues. We welcome your questions and comments.
Mark Richards

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