Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/02/2003 01:05 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 208-HUNTING SAME DAY AIRBORNE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
[Contains testimony on SB 155, the companion bill]                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE  announced that the  first order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  208, "An Act relating to hunting  on the same day                                                               
airborne; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0145                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FATE reminded  members that  the committee  would continue                                                               
taking public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0231                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KAREN  DEATHERAGE,  Defenders  of Wildlife,  testified  that  the                                                               
Defenders  of  Wildlife  is  a  nonprofit  wildlife  conservation                                                               
organization  with offices  throughout  North America,  including                                                               
Juneau and  Anchorage.  Ms.  Deatherage said the  organization is                                                               
strongly opposed to  HB 208 and SB 155, the  companion bill.  She                                                               
said  a  1996  ballot initiative  banned  same-day-airborne  wolf                                                               
hunting  by  a person  holding  a  hunting or  trapping  license.                                                               
Furthermore,  a   2000  referendum  prohibited  the   state  from                                                               
allowing the public to engage  in same-day or aerial wolf killing                                                               
under  an  approved  predator control  program.    However,  both                                                               
ballot  measures  allowed [Alaska  Department  of  Fish and  Game                                                               
(ADF&G)] employees to engage in  aerial or same-day-airborne wolf                                                               
hunting if necessary under a predator control program.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. DEATHERAGE  said while there  appears to be confusion  by the                                                               
state over the intent of  the referendum, the language the public                                                               
voted upon  couldn't be  clearer.  She  said the  2000 referendum                                                               
voter book reads as follows:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     This referendum would refer to  the voters for approval                                                                    
     or rejection of  a law allowing hunters to  fly into an                                                                    
     area where the  Alaska Board of Game  has established a                                                                    
     wolf  control program  and  on the  same  day land  and                                                                    
     shoot a wolf. ... The law  also adds agents of ADF&G to                                                                    
     the people permitted  to conduct same-day-airborne wolf                                                                    
     hunting as part of a game management program.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0350                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. DEATHERAGE told members that  if the state currently believes                                                               
it is legal for the  public to engage in [same-day-airborne] wolf                                                               
control,  then  [Defenders  of  Wildlife]  has  questions.    She                                                               
stressed  that  the  2000  referendum,   passed  by  the  public,                                                               
rejected  an amendment  to AS  16.05.255 making  public same-day-                                                               
airborne [hunting] legal under intensive  management as long as a                                                               
person  held a  valid hunting  or trapping  license.   She asked,                                                               
"Are you telling  the public that this referendum was  a waste of                                                               
public time and money?"   Noting that she'd spent countless hours                                                               
collecting some of  the 38,000 signatures from  Alaskan voters to                                                               
put  this referendum  on  the ballot,  she  asked, "If  same-day-                                                               
airborne wolf  control by  the public was  legal, why,  then, did                                                               
the legislature introduce Senate Bill  267 to add a subsection to                                                               
the  law at  that  time?"   She  further asked  if  the state  is                                                               
uncomfortable  with the  interpretation  of the  current law  and                                                               
therefore introducing  this bill  to overturn Alaskan  voters and                                                               
allow the use of public same-day-airborne hunting of wolves.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DEATHERAGE said  [Defenders of  Wildlife] believes  removing                                                               
the prey  population objectives is  an assault to  sound wildlife                                                               
management that  gives the Board  of Game and ADF&G  authority to                                                               
implement  predator   control  for   any  reason  at   any  time.                                                               
Furthermore, she said, because the  board has authority to change                                                               
prey,  predator, or  harvest objectives,  predator control  would                                                               
become a virtual free-for-all.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DEATHERAGE suggested  that  the law  had  already gone  well                                                               
beyond the  public's original desire  in 1996 to  allow same-day-                                                               
airborne   wolf   hunting   by  ADF&G   only   under   biological                                                               
emergencies, and that it is  disingenuous to push this further as                                                               
an arbitrary  or preemptive wildlife  management tool.   She said                                                               
she hoped  the committee would honor  the vote of the  people and                                                               
recognize that same-day-airborne wolf hunting  for any purpose is                                                               
believed to  be illegal by Alaskans.   On behalf of  Defenders of                                                               
Wildlife, she requested that the bill not move out of committee.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0539                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. DEATHERAGE shared her personal feelings as follows:                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     At  a time  when  our public  representatives need  our                                                                    
     support and trust more than  ever, it is important that                                                                    
     you, as  public servants,  reciprocate by  honoring one                                                                    
     of the  few requests  on wildlife  issues ever  made by                                                                    
     the public  in 40 years -  three to be exact,  of which                                                                    
     two involved  this issue, and  that is to  prohibit the                                                                    
     use  of  aircrafts  by hunters  and  trappers  to  kill                                                                    
     wolves for hunting and/or predator control.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0587                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GUTTENBERG  asked   Ms.  Deatherage   about  the                                                               
percentage on the referendum vote.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. DEATHERAGE  offered her belief that  it was 53 percent.   She                                                               
explained that  [Defenders of Wildlife]  thinks the  number would                                                               
have been  higher but that it  was a very confusing  vote for the                                                               
public,  and  its  polls  reflected  higher  numbers  for  public                                                               
rejection of that bill.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0655                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DEATHERAGE, in  response  to  questions from  Representative                                                               
Wolf   about   Defenders   of  Wildlife,   said   the   nonprofit                                                               
organization  is   a  wildlife   conservation  group   that  pays                                                               
particular  attention  to  and   advocates  for  sound  ecosystem                                                               
management.   Heavily  involved  in  issues regarding  endangered                                                               
species   outside  of   Alaska,  it   promotes  sound   ecosystem                                                               
management   and   coexistence    with   wildlife,   particularly                                                               
carnivores.   It  has its  home  base in  Washington, D.C.,  with                                                               
regional offices  throughout the U.S.,  Canada, and Mexico.   The                                                               
vast majority  of its  funding comes  from individual  donors and                                                               
members.  She affirmed that it has  a web site.  In response to a                                                               
question  from  Representative  Lynn,   she  said  [Defenders  of                                                               
Wildlife]  is a  member organization  of the  Alaska Conservation                                                               
Alliance.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE asked  what year Ms. Deatherage was  referring to when                                                               
she was discussing  the percentage of voters who  voted [in favor                                                               
of the referendum].                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. DEATHERAGE remarked, "The recent  one passed at 58 percent in                                                               
1996, and then  we did a ballot  ... referendum in 2000  - at the                                                               
2000 elections."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FATE announced  that  testimony would  be  limited to  two                                                               
minutes each because of the number of people waiting to testify.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0850                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PAUL  JOSLIN, Conservation  Biologist, Alaska  Wildlife Alliance,                                                               
testified that the  alliance supports neither HB 208  nor SB 155,                                                               
the companion bill,  both which are seen as  a deliberate attempt                                                               
to circumvent the will of  the people regarding same-day-airborne                                                               
shooting of wolves  after the voters said "no" at  the ballot box                                                               
in 1996  and 2000.  He  talked about a poll  conducted by Dittman                                                               
Research Corporation in March 2003  that indicated Alaskan voters                                                               
were not in support of the same-day-airborne shooting of wolves.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOSLIN told  members, "The  voters just  do not  like unfair                                                               
chase using aircraft  as a method of killing wolves,  be it land-                                                               
and-shoot or taking from the air  or however a method you may try                                                               
to indicate."   A  wolf biologist  whose job  was to  follow wolf                                                               
packs around  [the state], he said  that his current job  is as a                                                               
conservation  biologist   with  the  Alaska   Wildlife  Alliance.                                                               
Having attended  most Board of  Game meetings over the  last five                                                               
years, Mr. Joslin said at almost  every meeting he heard the same                                                               
mantra:   "Moose and caribou  numbers are  plummeting everywhere;                                                               
there is a wolf behind every  tree; the voters took away the only                                                               
tool that works, same-day-airborne hunting of wolves."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOSLIN  said  the  truth is  very  different,  however,  and                                                               
banning same-day-airborne  hunting of  wolves doesn't put  a dent                                                               
in the killing of wolves.  He elaborated:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Looking at  ADF&G harvest summary figures  between 1978                                                                    
     and  2002,  what  we  see  is  that  we  are  currently                                                                    
     averaging  a kill  of  about 1,500  wolves  a year,  or                                                                    
     close to double  what it used to be.   The trend upward                                                                    
     began about  1983, and  it has  been fairly  steady and                                                                    
     consistent ever  since.   Projecting the  current trend                                                                    
     outward,  I  would predict  that  we  shall be  killing                                                                    
     about 2,000 wolves a year by ... 2007 or 2008.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Why the  steady upward trend  in wolf killing:   better                                                                    
     snow machines; better  equipment, generally; changes in                                                                    
     the law  that allow  hunters to actively  pursue wolves                                                                    
     on snow machines and  kill them; wolf-trapping clinics;                                                                    
     private  bounties like  the $100  one  in McGrath;  $45                                                                    
     government research that's  [the] equivalent of bounty,                                                                    
     ... et cetera. ...                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1057                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOSLIN continued:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Alaska is  not bursting at  the seams with  wolves, nor                                                                    
     are  the moose  numbers plummeting,  and the  best case                                                                    
     that we have  before us is certainly  the McGrath area.                                                                    
     ... Hopefully,  you're aware  that ADF&G  has conducted                                                                    
     ...  only two  surveys  of the  moose population  there                                                                    
     that they  regard as reliable.   ...  Currently, Alaska                                                                    
     is well back in the pack  when it comes to wolf numbers                                                                    
     per square  mile; we're  not the top  of the  heap like                                                                    
     you might think.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Minnesota now has  two and a half times  as many wolves                                                                    
     per  square mile  as does  Alaska. ...  There are  many                                                                    
     aspects  to do  with this,  and the  most important,  I                                                                    
     think,  is the  failure of  our  state to  look at  the                                                                    
     habitat   in  conjunction   with  the   prey  and   the                                                                    
     predators, and the  other part of it is  the failure to                                                                    
     educate the people. ...                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     We have a  lot of misinformation out there.   You heard                                                                    
     some the other  day that said ...  the moose population                                                                    
     in McGrath had  plummeted 75 percent.   Well, the facts                                                                    
     by  ADF&G are  very different,  and it's  that kind  of                                                                    
     thing that there needs to be  a lot of education as the                                                                    
     focus,  in   addition  to  the  science   that's  done.                                                                    
     There's  no evidence  ... that  the need  for same-day-                                                                    
     airborne of wolves should be on the books.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1132                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  asked Mr.  Joslin  if  there was  any                                                               
scenario in which he would support predator control.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOSLIN said  predator control is certainly  supported when it                                                               
is justified,  for example, when foxes  were foolishly introduced                                                               
to the Aleutian  Islands.  That had to be  turned around and made                                                               
right;  otherwise, the  bird rookery  could have  been destroyed.                                                               
In such  conditions, predator control  is definitely the  sort of                                                               
tool that  might be used.   However, he said ADF&G  had indicated                                                               
the [moose population]  in McGrath has not gone  down and doesn't                                                               
justify predator control.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1217                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF   asked  Mr.  Joslin  how   he  can  compare                                                               
Minnesota with Alaska.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOSLIN responded  that it  has to  be done  on the  basis of                                                               
density, not size.   He indicated that if the  density per square                                                               
mile is compared,  Minnesota has a wolf population  2.5 times the                                                               
size of Alaska's.   At the same time, hunters  in [Minnesota] are                                                               
able to kill  hundreds of thousands of deer, which  he equated to                                                               
the moose  and caribou in [Alaska],  and they seem to  be able to                                                               
coexist.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOSLIN  remarked, "I think we  can learn to coexist  as well;                                                               
they've done a  lot of research on their  predators; they learned                                                               
that they weren't  the big monster that they were  made out to be                                                               
in  the past  - those  days have  changed."   He said  the people                                                               
there have also changed because  federal and state agencies there                                                               
have put a  lot of focus on education so  that the public catches                                                               
up to the  findings of the biologists.  Mentioning  a former myth                                                               
that if a person  sees a dead moose or caribou it  must be a lost                                                               
hunter opportunity, he added "It's  a lot more complex than that,                                                               
and they've been able to demonstrate it."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE asked for clarification  on the information Mr. Joslin                                                               
presented relating to wolf-kill statistics.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOSLIN replied:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     From about  1977 to about  '83, '84, we  were averaging                                                                    
     somewhere around 700 to 900,  somewhere in that general                                                                    
     range.   And then  at about '84  we began  to increase,                                                                    
     and it's  been ... up  and down a bit,  but essentially                                                                    
     it's been  a fairly steady increase.   ... Essentially,                                                                    
     ...  I'm just  quoting  ADF&G  harvest summary  reports                                                                    
     from '78 onward.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1374                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTO  offered   his  understanding   that  some                                                               
biologists make  a living writing  books about wolves and  have a                                                               
vested interest.   He  asked, "Would you  be referring  to Farley                                                               
Mowat as one of the biologists  that you're referring to when you                                                               
say  that  we are  behind  the  biologists in  understanding  the                                                               
wolves?"                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOSLIN  replied, "Absolutely not.   I trained under  Dr. Doug                                                               
Pimlott, a world-famous  wolf biologist, ... those  sort ... that                                                               
carry  a  whole   lot  more  weight  when   you're  dealing  with                                                               
credibility within  the wolf world."   He said Farley Mowat  is a                                                               
fiction writer who, at a time  when people were into bounties and                                                               
didn't understand wolves very well,  helped the general public to                                                               
catch up quite  a bit, but he  also dealt with some  myths and so                                                               
forth and wasn't a scientist by any stretch of the imagination.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1461                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[Dorothy Keeler noted that she  had testified during the previous                                                               
bill  hearing,  would  be  filming this  meeting,  and  would  be                                                               
available for questions.]                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1536                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROBERTA HIGHLAND told members that  her original intention was to                                                               
represent the Kachemak Bay Conservation  Society but that she had                                                               
already faxed those  comments to the committee and  would only be                                                               
representing herself.  She testified as follows:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     I  am very  sad  to be  here to  speak  against what  I                                                                    
     consider to be  a barbaric bill.  Every  time I picture                                                                    
     the wolves running for their  lives and people shooting                                                                    
     them, I actually  become physically ill.   I have heard                                                                    
     very little about the real  problem, which I believe is                                                                    
     human predation ....                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     In my opinion, if you  just stop people from hunting in                                                                    
     these  areas for  a few  years,  especially the  trophy                                                                    
     hunters, ... I  suspect ... there would  be an increase                                                                    
     in moose population.   If you pass  this barbaric bill,                                                                    
     you will  have put  a black mark  on this  great state.                                                                    
     You  are  our  leaders.  ...  What  are  you  thinking?                                                                    
     Wolves do not have other  choices of food as humans do,                                                                    
     and  managing for  human  consumption,  I really  don't                                                                    
     understand this idea at all.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Let me  give you some  numbers from a 2001  Alaska fish                                                                    
     and wildlife ... survey:   approximately 420,000 people                                                                    
     spent  nearly   a  half   a  billion   dollars  viewing                                                                    
     wildlife,  wolves being  one of  the top  three animals                                                                    
     [that] people  wanted to see.   Why would  you consider                                                                    
     even doing away with such  a popular viewing animal?  A                                                                    
     live wolf is worth way more  than a dead one.  Millions                                                                    
     of people appreciate the wolf  and do not consider them                                                                    
     vermin as the [Board of  Game] and, apparently, some of                                                                    
     you.   I remember  a group  of doctors  shooting wolves                                                                    
     out  of airplanes  years ago  for fun.   These  doctors                                                                    
     were boycotted,  as our  state could very  well be.   I                                                                    
     already  know of  people staying  away because  of this                                                                    
     very bill.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     We were  in Africa a couple  of years ago; ...  what is                                                                    
     going on  in Africa is  seeing the animals.   Alaska is                                                                    
     very  much the  same for  the  United States.   I  have                                                                    
     lived in Alaska  for over 30 years and  have never seen                                                                    
     a  wolf.   I  ask  you  to  do the  moral  twenty-first                                                                    
     century thing:   vote  this bill  down; protect  one of                                                                    
     our valuable natural resources.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1675                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT ARCHIBALD testified, noting that he had resided in Alaska                                                                
for over 25 years.  He told members:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I am real sorry to see  us come back to this ... issue.                                                                    
     But ... I'm  [even] more upset with  the performance of                                                                    
     this administration on this issue  - hearing in ... the                                                                    
     meeting the  other day  that [a]  helicopter is  out of                                                                    
     the picture as  far as using for  control of predators,                                                                    
     when it's probably  one of the best platforms.   ... It                                                                    
     appears  to me  that ADF&G  does  not want  to do  this                                                                    
     because they're  financially hogtied and they  can't do                                                                    
     it,  and to  put this  out into  the private  sector, I                                                                    
     think, is intolerable.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     It might  be time to  find some  way to get  ADF&G some                                                                    
     better funding, as  in a stamp or a  user's fee instead                                                                    
     of a tax,  as we're talking about the  same issues with                                                                    
     gasoline and  tourists right now  - a user fee.   Maybe                                                                    
     it's time to  have a user fee to help  fund ADF&G to do                                                                    
     their mandated task.  And  I do believe by the statutes                                                                    
     they have  the right to  do it  right now; I  don't see                                                                    
     [how]  putting this  into the  private sector  would do                                                                    
     any good.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1799                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
GREG  ROCZICKA,  Central   Kuskokwim  Moose  Management  Planning                                                               
Committee, testified  that he works  at the local  tribal council                                                               
for the  community of Bethel; has  spent the last 15  to 20 years                                                               
dealing  with  natural resource  issues;  and  served two  terms,                                                               
through  the previous  administration, on  the Board  of Game,  a                                                               
difficult and sometimes painful process.  He told members:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     It's almost like  I had to watch  the moose populations                                                                    
     plummet under  my watch, and  pretty much  powerless to                                                                    
     do it despite  all the best efforts of the  board - and                                                                    
     that board,  as you may  be aware, has been  labeled as                                                                    
     having  a fairly  liberal  background  to some  degree.                                                                    
     And when  looking at  the issue  in depths,  as anybody                                                                    
     will if  they try to do  it in as objective  fashion as                                                                    
     you possibly can, that predator  control is a necessary                                                                    
     tool.   And I  commend you  for bringing  this forward,                                                                    
     given the  apparent lack  of ability  for the  state to                                                                    
       carry it forward under the "holy war" that they're                                                                       
     being presented with on this issue.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROCZICKA  informed members that  the Central  Kuskokwim Moose                                                               
Management Planning Committee was  established by the departments                                                               
through  the request  of  the  board in  the  spring  of 2002  to                                                               
establish   a  management   plan   and  provide   recommendations                                                               
regarding  problems with  moose in  units 19A  and 19B.   Its  14                                                               
members  were  selected to  include  a  broad diversity  of  user                                                               
groups from  throughout the political  spectrum; there  are urban                                                               
representatives from Anchorage and  the Matanuska-Susitna area as                                                               
well  as  people  from  the   villages  of  the  Kuskokwim  River                                                               
drainage.   Saying his committee  was just  made aware of  HB 208                                                               
and  SB  155   at  its  meeting  the  previous   week  in  Aniak,                                                               
Mr. Roczicka announced that the  12 members present had expressed                                                               
ardent  support for  the legislation  and had  requested that  he                                                               
speak  on their  collective  behalf; he  offered  to provide  the                                                               
names of those 12 members.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE asked that Mr. Roczicka fax those names.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1941                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROCZICKA said  the  central Kuskokwim  region  - along  with                                                               
other areas of the state,  according to observations and the most                                                               
recent scientific data - has  suffered a dramatic decrease in its                                                               
moose population over the last  decade, perhaps 60 to 70 percent.                                                               
Yet the  habitat is considered  to be in excellent  condition and                                                               
weather factors  have been conducive  to good winter  survival in                                                               
recent years.   Compared with  the 10-year averages prior  to the                                                               
1996  initiative, he  said  that  in the  last  survey the  total                                                               
number of moose  observed was 196, down from  473; moose observed                                                               
per hour  equaled 59, down from  154; and calf-cow ratios  were 8                                                               
per 100, down  from 56 per 100.   Furthermore, the nine-month-old                                                               
survival rate of calves was less  than 5 percent - extremely low.                                                               
However, people have seen an  inversely proportionate increase in                                                               
wolf numbers.   In short, he said, the situation  there is pretty                                                               
grim.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROCZICKA opined  that there  are similar  effects throughout                                                               
the state  and that the  common denominator,  in most if  not all                                                               
cases, is that  the drop in moose populations  coincides with the                                                               
1996 and  2000 initiatives.   He  said he  didn't want  to deride                                                               
what he considered to be 60  to 80 percent of the general public,                                                               
but suggested those people are  largely misinformed or uninformed                                                               
about the  practical effects  and have voted  based on  their gut                                                               
reactions.   He characterized this  as an instance when  the road                                                               
to hell is being paved with good intentions.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2013                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROCZICKA  requested  that   legislators  ask  the  following                                                               
question  of themselves  and constituents:    How would  Alaskans                                                               
react if  it were  realized that managers  of the  permanent fund                                                               
knew of a 25 to 50  percent drain in the fund's growth potential,                                                               
which represents  wolves, and another  25 to 50  percent variable                                                               
source of  reduction, which represents  bears, and that  - either                                                               
alone or in  combination - those factors directly caused  a 60 to                                                               
70 percent decline  in the fund's principal?   He suggested there                                                               
would  be total  outrage about  this  if the  people were  really                                                               
informed and educated.   Calling fish and  wildlife populations a                                                               
permanent fund  as well, he  said they're being managed,  in this                                                               
case,  for one  singular purpose:    "the tourism  and the  wolf-                                                               
welfare  aspect."     He  suggested   it  can't  be   dealt  with                                                               
objectively  on  a  management  basis in  that  sense  and  still                                                               
provide  "the  most ...  for  the  most  people" or  provide  for                                                               
sustained yield.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROCZICKA  turned to [Game  Management] Unit 19D and  said the                                                               
media had proclaimed  in 2000 or 2001 that the  moose flourish in                                                               
McGrath and that  there were double the number  of moose compared                                                               
with the  previous year, due  to an error  in the survey  and the                                                               
methodology.  He remarked:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     There  was absolutely  no mention  made, or  allowed, I                                                                    
     guess, that this double amount  was still less than the                                                                    
     1995 and '96 - when  the former governor went out there                                                                    
     and pounded the pulpit and said  he was going to do all                                                                    
     in his power to reverse the  decline.  And the Board of                                                                    
     Game   initially   authorized    a   predator   control                                                                    
     implementation plan.   And staff that tried  to set the                                                                    
     record straight or clarify or  offer any more objective                                                                    
     information were  censured or had their  word (indisc.)                                                                    
     to the point of ... obfuscation.   So I'd hope that, if                                                                    
     this  goes forward  - and  we are  going to  be dealing                                                                    
     with an  initiative, no  doubt, ... if  it does  pass -                                                                    
     that ... public  information is allowed to go  out in a                                                                    
     more objective fashion.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROCZICKA said  he had  a  lot more,  but would  stop in  the                                                               
interest of time.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE  requested that testifiers  stay on  teleconference in                                                               
case there were questions later.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2272                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE SIAVELES  testified that  he is  a subsistence  hunter and                                                               
fisherman,  professional hunting  guide, wildlife  viewing guide,                                                               
member  of the  board  of directors  of  the Alaska  Professional                                                               
Hunter  Association,   and  someone  who  has   made  his  living                                                               
exclusively  and directly  from the  land  in rural  Alaska on  a                                                               
year-round basis all  of his adult life.   Stating strong support                                                               
for HB 208, he told members:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The  so-called experts  who are  against  HB 208  don't                                                                    
     have  any  rural dirt  on  their  souls.   HB  208  has                                                                    
     science  behind  it.   The  only  thing against  it  is                                                                    
     misguided emotion  and organized boycotts -  threats of                                                                    
     boycott.  Over the last  15 years I've watched the wolf                                                                    
     population in  the western portion of  Unit 19 increase                                                                    
     from  a healthy  level that  allowed both  wolf numbers                                                                    
     and moose numbers to be  stable and safe to the present                                                                    
     level  that   has  significantly  contributed   to  the                                                                    
     present zero moose-calf recruitment.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The present  high wolf density  here is so bad,  it has                                                                    
     already  caused a  significant  negative  impact on  my                                                                    
     rural  business.    It  threatens  to  soon  completely                                                                    
     eliminate  that business  and  my  family's ability  to                                                                    
     support  itself.   It has  made it  impossible for  the                                                                    
     local people  here ... to  harvest enough food  to feed                                                                    
     their families.  It threatens  to eliminate a diversity                                                                    
     of users of Alaska's wild  resources.  And it threatens                                                                    
     entire industries  that depend  on a  sensible, managed                                                                    
     balance of nature.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE SIAVELES suggested HB 208  will again make it possible for                                                               
the  State  of  Alaska  to  fulfill  what  he  called  its  legal                                                               
obligation  to  manage  Alaska's  wild resources  on  a  "maximum                                                               
sustained yield" principle.  Under  current law, he said, most of                                                               
Alaska's rural  people believe this  isn't possible.   He offered                                                               
his belief  that Alaska's rural  people are  extremely frustrated                                                               
"when  hundreds  of  northern gray  wolves  are  presently  being                                                               
harvested by  U.S. Fish and  Wildlife aerial hunting  in Montana,                                                               
Idaho,  and  Wyoming,  yet  we  are not  allowed  to  manage  our                                                               
resources in a sensible,  reasonable, renewable, and biologically                                                               
sound way  because of threats of  boycotts."  He opined  that the                                                               
State  of  Wyoming is  going  broke  because  of what  he  called                                                               
depredation lawsuits;  he asked whether  this is where  Alaska is                                                               
headed as  well.   He suggested  that HB  208 will  pull Alaska's                                                               
rural  and urban  citizens together  on a  solution, rather  than                                                               
driving   a   wedge,  as   he   said   happened  under   previous                                                               
administrations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2420                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TED SPRAKER, Member,  Board of Game, noted  that Michael Fleagle,                                                               
chairman of  the board, was unable  to testify and had  asked Mr.                                                               
Spraker to  testify on  behalf of  the board.   Mr.  Spraker said                                                               
he'd polled board  members about HB 208; although  he'd only been                                                               
able to poll  five of the six other members,  their vote, as well                                                               
as his, was unanimous for strong support.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SPRAKER  expressed hope that  HB 208 and the  companion bill,                                                               
SB 155, will  be put on a  fast track and made  effective as soon                                                               
as possible.   Citing McGrath as  an example of a  place that has                                                               
been "basically  on hold" for  about eight years, he  said people                                                               
in McGrath and  subsistence hunters up and down that  part of the                                                               
Kuskokwim region  need something changed so  the moose population                                                               
can recover.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SPRAKER noted that  up to 40 wolves can be  taken if there is                                                               
quick  passage this  spring.   He reported  that the  estimate of                                                               
[the Alaska Department  of] Fish and Game, heard at  the Board of                                                               
Game [meeting],  was 32 to  34 wolves in  the McGrath area.   "So                                                               
that's  all  the  wolves  we're   talking  about  that  would  be                                                               
removed," he  told members.  With  three or four packs  of wolves                                                               
in the area,  averaging about five pups per  litter, he predicted                                                               
that there may be 50 or  so wolves next fall.  Furthermore, ADF&G                                                               
is geared up  to remove bears this spring from  the McGrath area.                                                               
If  half of  the predators  are moved  and thus  half the  job is                                                               
done, he said only half the results can be expected.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SPRAKER  reported that during  testimony at the  spring board                                                               
meeting, a  retired fish and  game biologist who'd worked  in the                                                               
McGrath area had testified that  the moose density is one-quarter                                                               
of  what it  was 15  to  20 years  ago  and that  it clearly  was                                                               
because  of predation  and lack  of land-and-shoot  methods.   He                                                               
said  that  something  needs  to be  done,  especially  in  these                                                               
subsistence  areas, and  that  passage of  this  bill is  needed,                                                               
hopefully soon.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2673                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOEL BENNETT,  Alaskans for  Wildlife, testified  as a  member of                                                               
Alaskans  for Wildlife,  the  2000  referendum committee,  noting                                                               
that he  was one of the  three sponsors who brought  that measure                                                               
before the  public for  a vote.   A  36-year resident  and active                                                               
hunter all those years, Mr.  Bennett pointed out that he'd served                                                               
almost  14 years  on the  Board  of Game  through four  different                                                               
administrations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BENNETT disagreed  with the  position of  the Department  of                                                               
Law,  saying  he  wanted  to  dispel  any  misunderstanding  that                                                               
involving the  public in land-and-shoot  wolf hunting,  either as                                                               
agents of the department or  as individuals, is permitted now and                                                               
was  not  prohibited  by  the referendum.    He  specified  that,                                                               
indeed,   that  was   expressly  what   was  prohibited   by  the                                                               
referendum.  He  suggested that if people  review the legislative                                                               
history,  including the  debates  and sponsor  statements, it  is                                                               
clear that the  essence of the referendum was to  not involve the                                                               
public in predator control.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT  asserted that if Mr.  Spraker and the Board  of Game                                                               
want  to do  something now  to remove  wolves from  McGrath, they                                                               
can; they  have existing authority with  department personnel and                                                               
department   means,  either   using   fixed-wing  [aircraft]   or                                                               
helicopters.   Why  isn't that  authority being  exercised?   Mr.                                                               
Bennett said nobody seems to know.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT  said this legislation  appears to be aimed  at again                                                               
involving  the  public,  which   has  serious  problems  such  as                                                               
inefficiency.   If  the desire  is to  move predators,  the state                                                               
should do  it with its  own personnel, using helicopters,  and do                                                               
it  quickly, efficiently,  and humanely.   "Don't  let individual                                                               
people fly  around in  their own  aircraft wounding  animals, not                                                               
being able  to retrieve them," he  told members.  "It's  just not                                                               
good public policy."   Referring to previous  legal cases against                                                               
land-and-shoot hunters through the years,  he said the history is                                                               
tainted with past abuses and lack  of good game managers who have                                                               
the interests of wildlife in mind.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BENNETT concluded  by  saying that  the  department has  the                                                               
authority now and should use it  if the program is justified, and                                                               
that  this legislation  is  a wholesale  reversal  of two  ballot                                                               
initiatives which  fundamentally addressed  the premise  that the                                                               
public should not  be involved, either as  agents or individuals,                                                               
in predator control.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2855                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  noted   that  the  justification  for                                                               
predator control  is based on  moose harvest, and  that testimony                                                               
has  referred to  record population  highs.   However, moose  and                                                               
other animals have  a [natural] cycle.  He asked  what the normal                                                               
moose density would be.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT  answered that it  would differ from place  to place,                                                               
and that  in Alaska many  areas aren't suitable  for high-density                                                               
moose populations because  of the habitat.   Opining that McGrath                                                               
is one of those areas, he said:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     I've flown  over McGrath.   I know, as others  do, that                                                                    
     it's a mixed bag as far  as habitat.  I think the moose                                                                    
     densities  there  are  just  going  to  be  lower  than                                                                    
     they're going to  be in Unit 13, for  instance, or some                                                                    
     other area  that has a richer  habitat.  So I  think it                                                                    
     varies.  ... McGrath  has one  moose  per square  mile;                                                                    
     that's on  the order  of McKinley National  Park, where                                                                    
     there's no hunting. ...                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I don't see  the moose situation in McGrath  as being a                                                                    
     dire emergency, quite frankly, in  terms of the numbers                                                                    
     and  the level.   But,  nevertheless,  if it  is ...  a                                                                    
     grave situation  ... [and]  the department  justifies a                                                                    
     predator control  program, I think ...  that's what the                                                                    
     public  ...  would  accept, providing  it's  justified,                                                                    
     providing  it's  done  professionally  with  department                                                                    
     personnel,  and  not  involving  the  public.    That's                                                                    
     simply what they voted on. ...                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     When we  campaigned for the  referendum in 2000,  if we                                                                    
     had told the public that what  we wanted to do was stop                                                                    
     predator control altogether and  not leave an "out" for                                                                    
     the department to  do it, we wouldn't  have gotten that                                                                    
     many votes  at all.   The  very reason  that referendum                                                                    
     passed  was  because  there was  a  specific  exemption                                                                    
     allowing the  state to  conduct predator  control using                                                                    
     department personnel.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2953                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE  remarked that  this is  a tough  issue for                                                               
her.   She referred to an  article from the Anchorage  Daily News                                                             
about [SB  155] that says  who would do  the shooting is  still a                                                               
question, noting  that [Senator Seekins,  sponsor of SB  155] was                                                               
quoted  as saying  his intent  isn't to  "turn loose  a bunch  of                                                               
wild-eyed guys  in a  Super Cub."   She  asked whether  there are                                                               
assurances somewhere [that this won't happen].                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-21, SIDE B                                                                                                            
Number 2985                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[Not on  tape, but reconstructed  from the  committee secretary's                                                               
log  notes,  was Mr.  Bennett's  reply  that  he didn't  see  any                                                               
sideboards in the bill.]                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT  said he thinks  that's a  source of concern  to many                                                               
people.  He  noted that from what Representative  Heinze had read                                                               
of  Senator  Seekins'  comments,  it sounds  as  if  the  sponsor                                                               
himself doesn't  want to see an  uncontrolled situation involving                                                               
the public.   He observed, however, that  no specific terminology                                                               
in the  bill says  this is  limited to  permitted members  of the                                                               
public  who  have been  temporarily  employed  by the  department                                                               
under specified conditions, for example.   He suggested those are                                                               
the kinds of things that  would further public acceptance, rather                                                               
than  leaving it  wide open  to  suddenly engage  the public  [in                                                               
predator control].                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 2951                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MORGAN asked  Mr. Bennett  whether, before  1996,                                                               
there were  wide-eyed Super  Cub pilots in  Bush Alaska  who were                                                               
"just wounding and shooting wolves."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BENNETT  replied  yes,  saying  there  were  high-visibility                                                               
cases; he offered to bring those up.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE asked Mr. Bennett whether  he was [in Alaska] from the                                                               
1950s through about 1965.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT indicated he came to Alaska in 1968.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE remarked:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     During  those  years probably  was  the  height of  the                                                                    
     private  citizen in  the so-called  Super Cub  ... that                                                                    
     hunted  wolves.   And it  was stated  at that  time, in                                                                    
     many  sources, including  the  Department  of Fish  and                                                                    
     Game,  which had  not the  funds  in those  days to  do                                                                    
     those  types  of  things:   the  efficiency  of  aerial                                                                    
     hunting  of the  wolves,  which did  not dissipate  the                                                                    
     basic stock of the wolf,  especially ... on the Koyukuk                                                                    
     River, was why the Koyukuk  River and that country over                                                                    
     there had such a high density of moose population.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2855                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF remarked that out  of respect for the office,                                                               
he takes great  offense at calling a former governor  of Alaska a                                                               
wild-eyed hunter in a Super Cub.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2842                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CARL L. ROSIER,  Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC), noted  that he was                                                               
employed by  ADF&G for nearly  30 years, finishing his  career as                                                               
commissioner under  the Hickel Administration.   He  told members                                                               
that  AOC   is  a  statewide   association  of   40-plus  outdoor                                                               
recreation  groups   with  a  membership  of   more  than  10,000                                                               
Alaskans; it promotes  good conservation of the  state's fish and                                                               
wildlife   resources,   sustainability   of   wildlife   habitat,                                                               
protection  of public  access, and  fair allocation  of fish  and                                                               
game resources for all Alaskans.  He stated:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The council  supports the provisions of  House Bill 208                                                                    
     and its companion  bill, Senate Bill 155.   These bills                                                                    
     deal  with  clarification   of  airborne  or  same-day-                                                                    
     airborne  as  a  tool  for predator  control  in  areas                                                                    
     identified by  the Board of  Game that  require control                                                                    
     measures  for   recovery  of  low  or   declining  prey                                                                    
     populations of game species.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     You as  legislators have the benefit  of supporting one                                                                    
     of  the  finest  Boards  of   Game  I  have  personally                                                                    
     observed in  many years.   The newly  appointed members                                                                    
     are solid,  long-term Alaskans that have  been managers                                                                    
     of  the resource,  carried on  businesses dependent  on                                                                    
     those resources,  and know and appreciate  the benefits                                                                    
     to all Alaskans from well-managed game herds.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     It's  unfortunate  that the  new  game  board has  been                                                                    
     somewhat hamstrung  by direction  from the  third floor                                                                    
     [the governor's  office] that control  with the  use of                                                                    
     helicopters and  state employees will not  be approved.                                                                    
     This really boxes [in] you,  as legislators, because it                                                                    
     doesn't leave many alternatives.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Keep in  mind also that  helicopters, which are  not on                                                                    
     the  table at  the present  time, are  by far  the most                                                                    
     efficient, humane,  and economic method for  conduct of                                                                    
     a control  program.  Please  keep in mind also  that we                                                                    
     are focusing here  on a control program,  not a hunting                                                                    
     action in  which "fair chase" becomes  a consideration.                                                                    
     Be  aware also  that AOC  and our  member clubs  do not                                                                    
     advocate  the extermination  of  any  prey or  predator                                                                    
     species out there.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Certainly, there are times when  you must go in and, in                                                                    
     fact, bring  balance back after tough  winters and this                                                                    
     type of thing.  But  you have to have active management                                                                    
     on both the prey as well  as the predators.  And at the                                                                    
     present time, and for quite  several years, we have not                                                                    
     had   active  management   as  far   as  the   predator                                                                    
     populations  were concerned.   The  boards have  worked                                                                    
     hard to,  in fact, try  to rebuild game  populations or                                                                    
     prey species populations all over  this state, and have                                                                    
     been unable  to do  so.  It's  truly a  frustration; it                                                                    
     has to be a major  frustration for those game ... board                                                                    
     members  that were  out there  trying to  do the  right                                                                    
     thing ... for the benefit of the people in this state.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2677                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSIER continued:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The  current Board  of Game  has identified  three game                                                                    
     management  units,  13,  16B,  and  19D,  that  require                                                                    
     immediate  control action.   All  three areas  ... have                                                                    
     experienced tremendous  drops of whatever the  range is                                                                    
     [that you]  want to use,  but 70  percent is not  a bad                                                                    
     figure  on  moose densities  over  the  last 10  years.                                                                    
     Units 13 and 19D have  had previous board control plans                                                                    
     gathering  dust   on  the  shelf  for   several  years.                                                                    
     Implementation  of  these  plans  was  never  permitted                                                                    
     under the  previous administration, with  the resultant                                                                    
     continued decline  in the moose populations.   [Action]                                                                    
     at  this time  is critical  in order  to just  stop the                                                                    
     decline  and begin  a long  rebuilding  process of  the                                                                    
     moose herds in these areas.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2643                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSIER provided three suggestions to strengthen the bill and                                                                
better protect aircraft owners who may choose to participate in                                                                 
a board-approved control program, as follows:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The  first is  insertion  of the  words "in  identified                                                                    
     game  management units"  following the  word "shooting"                                                                    
     on page 1, line 8.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The  second  suggestion  is   insertion  of  the  words                                                                    
     "harvest management  objectives adopted"  following the                                                                    
     words "based on", page 1, line 10.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     A third  suggestion is  the addition  of a  new section                                                                    
     (a)(3)  that   reads:    "Prior   to  taking   a  wolf,                                                                    
     wolverine, fox,  or lynx, either  airborne or  same day                                                                    
     airborne, a person  must obtain a permit  issued by the                                                                    
     commissioner", page 2, last line.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2594                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSIER concluded:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Game management  over a broad  area of the state  is in                                                                    
     need of returning to a  policy of intensive management.                                                                    
     The  natural-cycle   policies  endorsed  by   the  last                                                                    
     administration have created  hardships for all Alaskans                                                                    
     and  permitted many  populations  to  decline into  the                                                                    
     catch-term "predator  pit."  A long-term  commitment to                                                                    
     intensive  management  is   necessary  to  bring  these                                                                    
     populations  back   and  to  protect  herds   that  are                                                                    
     healthy.   Passage and hopefully the  actions to follow                                                                    
     will start  us back on  that path.   It's only  a small                                                                    
     step, but  the bill  is a step  in the  right direction                                                                    
     and  will  benefit  all  user groups  as  well  as  the                                                                    
     wildlife resources.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2546                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  asked  about the  use  of  helicopters,                                                               
since the statute allows that now.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSIER  offered his understanding that  it's perfectly legal,                                                               
but said [Governor  Murkowski], even as recent  as this morning's                                                               
press  conference, has  said, "We  are  simply not  going to  use                                                               
helicopters."  Mr. Rosier added  his understanding from the press                                                               
conference  that  it  is  considered  a  fair-chase  issue.    He                                                               
remarked, "I  don't know how that  has crept into this  ... issue                                                               
all over again."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  said  it  isn't  about  fair  chase  or                                                               
hunting for sport, however, but about predator control.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSIER agreed.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked  how long it has  been since agents                                                               
[of the department]  have been used.  She also  asked whether Mr.                                                               
Rosier believes,  if the department  were staffed  adequately and                                                               
could use  helicopters, that  it would be  better to  have people                                                               
who really are good shots and are capable of doing it.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSIER answered:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     There's no  question about  it. ...  In terms  of doing                                                                    
     the job that  needs to be done in some  of these areas,                                                                    
     that's the way  to do it. ... I can't  speak too highly                                                                    
     of this;  it's just ...  such a logical thing  in terms                                                                    
     of  getting  the  job  done,  doing  it  humanely,  and                                                                    
     actually getting the program off of the ground.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The public,  ... as an alternative,  that's about where                                                                    
     you're  at.   The  only alternative  you've got  beyond                                                                    
     this, the public involvement here  on this, is to go to                                                                    
     a ground-based  program. ... That's  a tough  program -                                                                    
     you're  going to  kill some  wolves, ...  but it's  not                                                                    
     going  to  be a  controlled  program;  you just  simply                                                                    
     cannot  do the  work  on  the ground  ...  in order  to                                                                    
     accomplish what you're going to  have to do. ... You're                                                                    
     going to have  to take some pretty  high percentages of                                                                    
     wolves  in order  to reverse  the  prey population  and                                                                    
     begin to get  enough food supply there  to maintain the                                                                    
     wolves,  as  that'll  begin to  increase  as  the  prey                                                                    
     population increases as well.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     ... You're  really kind  of being  boxed here  with the                                                                    
     policy  direction  that  you're   getting  out  of  the                                                                    
     [governor's  office]   at  the  present  time,   in  my                                                                    
     estimation.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2383                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA remarked:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     I  think  here's what  the  concern  is:   we  may  not                                                                    
     personally like the image  of shooting from helicopters                                                                    
     or airplanes,  but it's the cleanest,  most humane way.                                                                    
     And  I  trust  the  department,  if  you  have  trained                                                                    
     professionals, to  do it.   What I'm worrying  about is                                                                    
     what's the  department going  to do  when they  go back                                                                    
     out to  the public,  and how are  they going  to manage                                                                    
     that.  And  I can't remember if you had  such a program                                                                    
     when you  were commissioner,  but ...  you've explained                                                                    
     why  it's necessary,  and  I agree.    But I'm  worried                                                                    
     about that extra addition there.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSIER replied:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     I can tell  you how I would go about  it, but we've got                                                                    
     another  administration here  and another  commissioner                                                                    
     down  there, and  so they've  got to  make these  tough                                                                    
     decisions along the  way.  But from  my standpoint, ...                                                                    
     you sell this on the  basis ... of the control program,                                                                    
     that  this is  not somebody  out there  playing around,                                                                    
     ... chasing animals to exhaustion,  this type of thing,                                                                    
     and leaving animals perhaps on the ground ....                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     And  nobody does  that intentionally;  I don't  mean to                                                                    
     [imply] that.  But, certainly,  those kind of things do                                                                    
     happen, and that's what gives  the program a bad image.                                                                    
     Yet we  still have the  objective of wanting  a control                                                                    
     program that's going  to, in fact, turn  those ... prey                                                                    
     populations around.   And lacking that,  we're spinning                                                                    
     our  wheels.   We  are not  managing  wildlife in  this                                                                    
     state  for sustained  yield under  those circumstances.                                                                    
     And  ultimately the  department,  in my  view, must  in                                                                    
     fact have predator control as  an active program in the                                                                    
     department over a broad area of the state.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2277                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK  asked Mr.  Rosier  to  respond to  written                                                               
comments  on HB  208 from  Peter Shepherd  dated March 28,  2003,                                                               
which say in  part that he was a game  division area biologist in                                                               
McGrath  from 1971  to 1981;  that wildlife  biologists have  few                                                               
tools to actively  manage game populations; that  ADF&G must have                                                               
more  flexibility  with respect  to  predator  control; that  his                                                               
experience is  that permitting aerial  hunters to take  wolves by                                                               
land-and-shoot  means was  sufficient to  keep healthy  levels of                                                               
prey  and predators;  and that  department biologists  can direct                                                               
and  supervise  wolf  removal  from  select  areas,  which  would                                                               
minimize costs to ADF&G.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSIER  replied that predator-management  tools have  been so                                                               
limited for so long that  the program must essentially start over                                                               
again.  He recalled the era  discussed by Chair Fate, noting that                                                               
he   himself  was   involved  in   dropping   poisoned  bait   in                                                               
Southeastern Alaska; that was fairly  effective in getting at the                                                               
populations of wolves, but was about the only effective method.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSIER recounted  his experience hunting in Unit  20 over the                                                               
last five years,  saying he'd seen the benefits  of removing more                                                               
than 200  wolves in various  subsidized trapper  programs carried                                                               
out.    That,  in  conjunction  with  the  sterilization  program                                                               
carried  out  by  the  department,   has  done  good  things,  he                                                               
asserted, but  surmised that the sterilization  program by itself                                                               
wouldn't have accomplished what  occurred through initial removal                                                               
of 200-plus wolves:   the caribou herds there  are blossoming and                                                               
the cows  have either single calves  or twin calves with  them in                                                               
the fall, after going through  a critical life stage during which                                                               
they  are quite  vulnerable.   There still  are wolves  there, he                                                               
said, as  reported by some  hunters.   He reiterated the  need to                                                               
knock down  the predator population  to begin with and  then keep                                                               
the pressure on.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2035                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK referred  to unspecified  written testimony                                                               
and  commented on  her  need,  as a  sled  dog  kennel owner,  to                                                               
separate the dogs to prevent  uncontrolled breeding; she compared                                                               
that to wolves and said moose  only have two or three calves, one                                                               
of which survives.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1969                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE  commented  that  she  keeps  picturing  a                                                               
choice between killing wolves or  letting baby moose be killed, a                                                               
difficult image  for her.   She asked whether there  is certainty                                                               
that  lynx and  fox are  part of  this predator  problem, whether                                                               
there is a  better way such as sterilization, and  how she can go                                                               
along with  this if it isn't  certain whether the public  will be                                                               
involved.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROSIER acknowledged  Representative  Heinze's reluctance  to                                                               
make a quick  decision.  He referred to what  he called "predator                                                               
pits."   Although lauding  possible benefits  from sterilization,                                                               
he reiterated the need to  knock down the population first before                                                               
using sterilization,  aerial hunting,  and so  forth to  keep the                                                               
pressure  on.   He also  noted that  an unspecified  former ADF&G                                                               
biologist  had countered  the idea  that only  the alpha  pair of                                                               
wolves breeds in a pack.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1819                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO remarked  that, like  Representative Masek,                                                               
he'd  had  a dog  team  for  which  reproduction rates  could  be                                                               
explosive; however,  he'd kept that dog  team at home.   He asked                                                               
about the statistics for healthy female wolves in a year.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSIER suggested someone from ADF&G could answer.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1773                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG noted  that the  previous governor  is                                                               
criticized for his  predator control policy and  that the current                                                               
governor  can  be  accused  of  the same  thing.    Referring  to                                                               
Mr. Bennett's testimony  and the statutes,  he said it  seems the                                                               
department  already has  the tools,  and that  in the  worst-case                                                               
scenario, agents  would be  allowed to do  predator control.   He                                                               
said he didn't understand why it  wasn't being done now, and that                                                               
it seemed the  department was funded to do  this under controlled                                                               
circumstances.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROSIER answered  that this  is a  policy direction  from the                                                               
[the governor's office].   He said  as he reads it under the law,                                                               
the policy  direction just  as well could  have been,  "Go ahead;                                                               
we're going  to use  helicopters; we're  going to  use department                                                               
aircraft; we're  going to use  that technique to, in  fact, bring                                                               
this thing under control."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1615                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TOM  SCARBOROUGH informed  members  that  he'd submitted  written                                                               
testimony that he  would supplement.  Noting  that most testimony                                                               
has been about  airborne hunting, he addressed what he  said is a                                                               
second, vitally important issue in  the bill, probably the reason                                                               
it is supposed to be on a fast track.  He told members:                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     There's  a reason  why nothing's  being  done with  the                                                                    
     wolves  in 19D.    ADF&G is  presently preventing  this                                                                    
     action because [the] moose  population objective set by                                                                    
     the  Board of  Game  in  2000 is  being  met.   At  the                                                                    
     department's  request in  the year  2000, the  Board of                                                                    
     Game ...  lowered the population objective  so that the                                                                    
     Knowles  Administration  could   avoid  the  intensive-                                                                    
     management  statutes coming  into effect  and requiring                                                                    
     predator control.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     A problem is that  there's a difference between harvest                                                                    
     objectives  and population  objectives.   The  statutes                                                                    
     deal   with   population    objectives,   not   harvest                                                                    
     objectives.   HB 208 would allow  harvest objectives to                                                                    
     become   a   [criterion]   and  therefore   allow   the                                                                    
     department to act.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     [ADF&G]  Commissioner Duffy  has advised  in writing  -                                                                    
     the Board of Game members each  have a letter - that he                                                                    
     cannot  proceed with  predator control  for wolves,  as                                                                    
     current  statutes prohibit  him from  acting.   This is                                                                    
     why nothing is being done.   And, gentlemen, you may be                                                                    
     able  to   get  a   copy  of   this  letter   from  the                                                                    
     commissioner's  office, and  you may  want to  read it.                                                                    
     ... If we  can get action now and  get this legislation                                                                    
     passed, maybe  we can take  some action in 19D  and get                                                                    
     something accomplished.  ... That's the reason  for the                                                                    
     urgency here.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
Number 1462                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MATT ROBUS,  Acting Director, Division of  Wildlife Conservation,                                                               
Alaska Department of  Fish and Game, referring  to the Department                                                               
of Law,  put forth the  state's opinion that the  current statute                                                               
already  allows  public  involvement   in  the  predator  control                                                               
program.   He  said he  could understand  that proponents  of the                                                               
initiative  who set  up  this  law would  feel  the foregoing  is                                                               
contrary  to what  they  meant in  going  through the  initiative                                                               
process,  but Mr.  Robus said  several  legislative actions  have                                                               
taken place since that initiative,  in addition to the referendum                                                               
[which repealed some legislative action].                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROBUS told  members  that  he would  try  to  show why  [the                                                               
administration]  believes there  is authority  under AS 16.05.783                                                               
currently for  the board and  the commissioner to  involve public                                                               
same-day-airborne  participation in  a predator  control program,                                                               
which, he asserted, is  different from same-day-airborne hunting.                                                               
Saying the  state sees the  bill as  making two basic  and fairly                                                               
small  changes  to the  existing  statute,  he said  the  current                                                               
statute has two different  pathways to same-day-airborne predator                                                               
control  activities.   He  addressed  the  second one  first,  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The  second part  of the  existing  statute allows  the                                                                    
     department  to   go  ahead  and   do  same-day-airborne                                                                    
     activities with  department staff without the  need for                                                                    
     any special  authorization.  And that's  the section of                                                                    
     the  statute  where  the referendum  removed  the  word                                                                    
     "agents" in  two different  places, because  the public                                                                    
     made  it clear  that in  proceeding with  that type  of                                                                    
     activity, they  did not want the  department to involve                                                                    
     the  public;   they  wanted   that  to   be  department                                                                    
     professionals, period.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     But  the first  pathway in  the bill,  toward same-day-                                                                    
     airborne predator control  activities, no longer limits                                                                    
     it  only to  department personnel.   That  language was                                                                    
     taken  out  as  ...  one of  the  previous  legislative                                                                    
     moves.  And ... we  believe it allows the authorization                                                                    
     of   the  [public's   participating]  if   some  fairly                                                                    
     complicated hoops are jumped through.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1248                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS continued:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The first change  in the bill, in lines 7  and 8, would                                                                    
     make the language in paragraph  (a), which is the first                                                                    
     pathway that I'm talking about,  the same as that which                                                                    
     occurs  in subparagraph  (a)(2),  which is  on lines  8                                                                    
     and 9 ... on  the second page.   Although paragraph (a)                                                                    
     allows for  the authorization of shooting  from the air                                                                    
     as  part of  a predator  control program,  subparagraph                                                                    
     (a)(2)  implies  that a  broader  array  of methods  is                                                                    
     contemplated  by the  current  statute,  that is,  both                                                                    
     aerial  shooting and  other forms  of same-day-airborne                                                                    
     take such  as landing  and shooting.   We  believe that                                                                    
     conforming this language in  these two different places                                                                    
     would  make it  clear that  predation control  programs                                                                    
     can employ any of these methods.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The  second  change  proposed  in  the  bill,  which  I                                                                    
     believe is  the original genesis  for it, is  to modify                                                                    
     the phrase  "prey population objectives" on  line 10 to                                                                    
     a more general statement.   To go into the mechanics of                                                                    
     intensive  management and  what the  Board of  Game and                                                                    
     the department have  to do, ... I'll tell  you that for                                                                    
     each  prey population  identified  under the  intensive                                                                    
     management law  as being important  for high  levels of                                                                    
     human  consumptive use,  the board  needs to  establish                                                                    
     two  different  management  objectives.    One  is  the                                                                    
     population objective; that's the  size of the herd that                                                                    
     we  want.    Secondly  is the  harvest  objective,  the                                                                    
     number  of  animals that  we  want  to  be able  to  be                                                                    
     harvested out of that herd each year.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     As shown  in regulation  at 5 AAC  92.108, each  of the                                                                    
     ungulate  populations that  has been  identified as  an                                                                    
     intensive  management herd  has both  population and  a                                                                    
     harvest  objective listed  there  in  regulation.   For                                                                    
     each  population,  those  two  objectives  are  linked.                                                                    
     They  differ  ... in  their  ...  relationship to  each                                                                    
     other,  based  on  many factors  such  as  each  herd's                                                                    
     productivity  and the  habitat condition  in the  area,                                                                    
     the predator load, and the hunter demand and so forth.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1104                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS continued:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Generally  speaking, the  Board of  Game would  request                                                                    
     the commissioner to make a  finding under paragraph (a)                                                                    
     to  allow the  public  to participate  in the  predator                                                                    
     control   program   when    an   identified   intensive                                                                    
     management prey  population falls below  its population                                                                    
     objective  and predation  is  implicated  as a  primary                                                                    
     cause of the decline or  a factor limiting the recovery                                                                    
     to levels above the population objective.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     However,  in some  cases a  prey population  could meet                                                                    
     its population objective but fall  short of meeting its                                                                    
     harvest  objective.    In some  such  cases,  predation                                                                    
     control  measures   may  be   a  tool  that   would  be                                                                    
     appropriate  for  trying  to  resolve  that  situation.                                                                    
     Under the  current language of  this statute,  a strict                                                                    
     reading   of  the   phrase,  quote,   "prey  population                                                                    
     objectives", unquote,  could be interpreted  to prevent                                                                    
     the commissioner from being able  to make a finding, as                                                                    
     outlined in  paragraph (a),  in a  case where  the herd                                                                    
     met the population objective but  fell short of meeting                                                                    
     the harvest objective.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Adopting the  proposed language in the  bill would make                                                                    
     it clear that the commissioner  would be able to make a                                                                    
     finding based on  either or both of  the two management                                                                    
     objectives established  under the  intensive management                                                                    
     law.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1023                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS continued:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     So,  to  sum  up:    good,  bad,  or  indifferent,  the                                                                    
     language in the present  statute is different than what                                                                    
     was originally  intended in the initiative.   The state                                                                    
      believes that involvement of the public, not in same-                                                                     
     day-airborne hunting but  in same-day-airborne predator                                                                    
     control programs, is potentially  something that can be                                                                    
     authorized  if  the  board   and  the  commissioner  go                                                                    
     through this  complicated process.   And right  now, in                                                                    
     most populations, the population  objective is a pretty                                                                    
     good measure of whether  or not predator control should                                                                    
     be something to be considered.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     In the  specific case of  the moose herd at  McGrath in                                                                    
     Unit 19D  East, we have  a situation where  an adaptive                                                                    
     management    team    appointed   during    the    last                                                                    
     administration  as part  of  a  compromise lowered  the                                                                    
     existing intensive  management population  objectives -                                                                    
     basically cut it  in half - and we do  have a situation                                                                    
     there  now where  the moose  population is  meeting the                                                                    
     population  objective, [but]  is  failing  to meet  the                                                                    
     harvest  objective, which  is based  on a  longstanding                                                                    
     need for moose meat ... in that part of the country.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     And, as  Mr. Scarborough  referenced in  his testimony,                                                                    
     when the  board requested the commissioner  of fish and                                                                    
     game to make a finding  under part (a) of this statute,                                                                    
     the commissioner  declined because  our moose  herd out                                                                    
     there is meeting that  rather low population objective,                                                                    
     but we still  have a tremendous need for  moose meat in                                                                    
     that valley  that we're  not meeting.   And so,  if you                                                                    
     broaden  the language  in the  statute, it  would allow                                                                    
     either  of  those two  objectives,  or  both, if  we're                                                                    
     failing  to meet  those,  to  be used  as  a basis  for                                                                    
     considering  inclusion of  the  public  in a  same-day-                                                                    
     airborne predation control program.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS said he'd taken some notes while on teleconference                                                                    
during the previous hearing, and he offered to answer questions.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0855                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROBUS,  in  response  to   a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Guttenberg, specified that  under the second part  of the statute                                                               
as  it's presently  written, department  personnel can  engage in                                                               
same-day-airborne  predator  control   activities  without  going                                                               
through the complicated  process he'd just mentioned.   He added,                                                               
"Under the authority of the administration, we could go out and                                                                 
conduct those programs."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked, "So why aren't you?"                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS replied:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     It's  complicated  because  of  the  various  different                                                                    
     situations  around  the state.    But  in the  case  of                                                                    
     McGrath,  the department  has  a management  experiment                                                                    
     ready to  go, in the  sense that we have  several years                                                                    
     of   research  data   on   moose-calf  survival,   bear                                                                    
     movements, wolf movements.   We have prepared ourselves                                                                    
     to be  able to conduct  a study there which  would live                                                                    
     up  to   the  National  Academy  of   Science  report's                                                                    
     criticism that  we have  not looked  at the  results of                                                                    
     these programs in the past.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The present  policy position  of the  administration is                                                                    
     that there's  a desire to  try to involve  local people                                                                    
     in  dealing  with  some   of  the  wildlife  management                                                                    
     situations, both as a way  to reduce costs to the state                                                                    
     and, I  guess, the  feeling that the  people benefiting                                                                    
     from the  improvement in the local  resources should be                                                                    
     people we try  to get involved in managing  to a better                                                                    
     situation.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0692                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG asked  whether  this year's  executive                                                               
order  moving [ADF&G's  habitat  division] to  the Department  of                                                               
Natural Resources  (DNR) will affect the  department's ability to                                                               
do the scientific research needed  to justify predator control as                                                               
one of many programs.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS answered:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     No, sir.   The habitat division, ...  despite the name,                                                                    
     has not conducted the work  we'd done on the habitat in                                                                    
     Unit  19D   East;  we've  got  a   couple  of  wildlife                                                                    
     biologists who  have worked on  those activities.   And                                                                    
     all of the capture work  and tracking work and so forth                                                                    
     is done also within my division.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked, "Not even indirectly?"                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS replied, "I can't think of any way that that move                                                                     
would affect that particular project."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0613                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE asked whether, in Mr. Robus's division,                                                                   
there has been any talk of the sterilization program.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS responded:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Yes, indeed.  That's a  very interesting tool, and it's                                                                    
     been  effective in  that  Fortymile caribou  situation.                                                                    
     And former  Commissioner Rosier  was correct  in saying                                                                    
     that  we  were  able  to start  there  with  a  lowered                                                                    
     predator-wolf population because of  the actions ... of                                                                    
     a coalition  of trappers  who concentrated on  the area                                                                    
     before we went in there.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     We've talked about all sorts  of options in each of the                                                                    
     cases where  predator control might  be necessary.   In                                                                    
     the situation in McGrath, the  problem is ... that even                                                                    
     if we  were to do what  we did in the  Fortymile [area]                                                                    
     and end up with only  two wolves, a sterilized male and                                                                    
     a sterilized female, in each  pack territory, and we do                                                                    
     something with all the rest of  the wolves - which is a                                                                    
     difficult thing to  do, by the way, if  you're going to                                                                    
     do it  nonlethally - the  moose density in 19D  East is                                                                    
     such  that  even two  wolves  in  a territory,  without                                                                    
     reproducing  and  making  more wolves,  are  enough  to                                                                    
     continue to retard  or even prevent the  rebound of the                                                                    
     moose population.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  premise  of  the   ...  management  experiment  at                                                                    
     McGrath is to  take a fairly small area  of good moose-                                                                    
     calving habitat  and try to reduce  predation by wolves                                                                    
     and bears to  a very, very low level and  hold it there                                                                    
     for  a  couple of  years  to  allow much  greater  calf                                                                    
     survival;  those are  ...  recruited  as yearlings,  at                                                                    
     which ... time they  enter the ... huntable population,                                                                    
     so we would start up  towards that harvest objective in                                                                    
     only  the second  year ...  after doing  this activity.                                                                    
     And   then,  of   course,  they   enter  the   breeding                                                                    
     population, those  that survive, and  hopefully produce                                                                    
     more calves.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0434                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG posed  a question he said  was asked by                                                               
Representative Lynn the previous week:   If an agent doing aerial                                                               
wolf hunting  fails to retrieve a  wolf that has been  killed and                                                               
then someone with a dog team happens upon it, who owns it?                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS answered:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     That's a good question.   And since this is not typical                                                                    
     hunting, I  think that the  department has quite  a bit                                                                    
     of  latitude in  deciding the  answer to  that, and  it                                                                    
     would  be  part  of  the  permit  system  that  we  put                                                                    
     together.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     What we envision  at McGrath, if we get  into this type                                                                    
     of program, would be not  too many permits issued and a                                                                    
     high  degree   of  control  and  surveillance   by  the                                                                    
     department.     And   we  might   even  end   up  using                                                                    
     helicopters to  go out and  retrieve carcasses  to make                                                                    
     sure  that  we  got  carcasses out  of  the  field  for                                                                    
     scientific study,  and because we know  that that's one                                                                    
     of  the  criticisms  of either  airborne  or  same-day-                                                                    
     airborne types  of taking.   And I think we'd  have the                                                                    
     latitude to  either have ... those  carcasses belong to                                                                    
     the state  or we could  allow the  hides to be  part of                                                                    
     the compensation to the  people that were participating                                                                    
     as permittees.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0301                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE asked whether [ADF&G] has records that go back far                                                                   
enough to show whether private-sector hunting of wolves was as                                                                  
effective as the department's airborne predator control.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS said he didn't have any data and wasn't aware of any                                                                  
that provided much information.  He added:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     If you talk  to our professional managers,  I think the                                                                    
     feeling is  that professional staff  cost more  but are                                                                    
     probably more  effective in a  shorter period  of time.                                                                    
     But  one  factor here  is,  the  area that  ...  you're                                                                    
     looking at  conducting this  management activity  on, a                                                                    
     ... fairly small patch of  ground such as we're talking                                                                    
     about  in this  management  ...  experiment at  McGrath                                                                    
     lends  itself to  kind of  a discrete,  one-time, rapid                                                                    
     activity.  But  if you're looking at a  larger area ...                                                                    
     where   we're   having  problems   meeting   population                                                                    
     objectives,  ...  it  just  may   not  be  feasible  or                                                                    
     affordable to have  department personnel doing predator                                                                    
     control activities over something  the size of Unit 13,                                                                    
     for instance. ...                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  Board of  Game  ... this  last  month, in  talking                                                                    
     about the  Unit 19D East  program, gave us a  menu with                                                                    
     different  techniques, which  included everything  from                                                                    
     staff  and  helicopters  all the  way  down  to  ground                                                                    
     trapping,  with fixed-wing  methods  in  between.   And                                                                    
     they also gave  us a list of  criteria:  affordability,                                                                    
     fitness,  humaneness,   and  there's  others   I'm  not                                                                    
     thinking of right now.  And  they asked us to pick from                                                                    
     that  menu  of techniques  and  then  match it  against                                                                    
     those criteria, and  then asked us further  to go ahead                                                                    
     and  employ whatever  methods that  would  get the  job                                                                    
     done ... acceptably within those criteria.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     The  commissioner has  not made  the finding  requested                                                                    
     there which would allow the  public to be involved, for                                                                    
     the technical reason that I  discussed here, ... in the                                                                    
     fact that  the current  statute talks  about population                                                                    
     objectives, rather  than just  objectives.  And  so we,                                                                    
     at this  point, are  not going  any further,  except to                                                                    
     try to  help ground-based  trappers at McGrath  be more                                                                    
     effective in  ... their attempts  to catch  wolves this                                                                    
     year.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0045                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE asked how much the present budget will restrain                                                                      
predator control, both generally and in the McGrath area.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-22, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS answered that this is very expensive, and that [the                                                                   
present budget] will limit the department's participation in                                                                    
these activities to only one or two areas at a time.  He added:                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     But  there  aren't that  many  areas  around the  state                                                                    
     where  a  real  active   predator  control  program  is                                                                    
     probably necessary.   I think  what's frustrating  to a                                                                    
     lot of people  is ... that of the areas  that have been                                                                    
     identified,  not  much  is happening.    For  instance,                                                                    
     we're eight or  nine years beyond the  beginning of the                                                                    
     McGrath management program,  and we're still attempting                                                                    
     to  get some  sort of  management done  over and  above                                                                    
     existing hunting and trapping.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     At McGrath we're spending about  $100,000 a year on the                                                                    
     research programs.  And each  year that that management                                                                    
     experiment gets put  off ... we have  to decide whether                                                                    
     to invest  another similar amount  of money so  that we                                                                    
     have fresh background information if  we ever go and do                                                                    
     something  there.   The actual  control activities  out                                                                    
     there  would probably  add  another  $50,000, and  that                                                                    
     includes  our participation  in ...  any aspect  of the                                                                    
     wolf program,  as well as translocating  a large number                                                                    
     of bears  out of  that experimental management  area in                                                                    
     order to reduce  those real high rates  of predation by                                                                    
     bears on  moose calves  during the  first few  weeks of                                                                    
     life.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0156                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE surmised  that in some areas the bear  predation is as                                                               
severe as  that from wolves.   He  asked about inauguration  of a                                                               
total  predator program  in some  of these  areas where  there is                                                               
intense game management.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS said that's a very good point and added:                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     It's really important  to us that we  don't just embark                                                                    
     on single-species programs.  In   most of the cases you                                                                    
     look at,  multiple predator species are  involved.  And                                                                    
     as one of  the speakers mentioned, ... if  you take out                                                                    
     one  predator where  you have  a complex  of predators,                                                                    
     there may  be enough compensatory mortality  - in other                                                                    
     words, other predators jumping in  at the opportunity -                                                                    
     that you may  not realize the gains  that you otherwise                                                                    
     would.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0253                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE asked  if there were further  questions; hearing none,                                                               
he thanked  participants and announced that  public testimony was                                                               
concluded.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE mentioned SB 155  and a couple of proposed amendments,                                                               
saying  he wanted  to work  on the  two bills  together and  then                                                               
arrive at a committee substitute.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0364                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG suggested  that Mr.  Rosier's proposed                                                               
amendments be considered as well.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FATE  concurred, noting that there'd  also been suggestions                                                               
from committee members.  [HB 208 was held over.]                                                                                

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