Legislature(1995 - 1996)

01/31/1996 08:06 AM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                        January 31, 1996                                       
                           8:06 a.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative William K. "Bill" Williams, Co-Chairman                        
 Representative Joe Green, Co-Chairman                                         
 Representative Scott Ogan, Vice Chairman                                      
 Representative Alan Austerman                                                 
 Representative Ramona Barnes                                                  
 Representative John Davies                                                    
 Representative Pete Kott                                                      
 Representative Don Long                                                       
 Representative Irene Nicholia                                                 
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 All members present                                                           
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 397                                     
 "An Act relating to the fisheries resource landing tax and to the             
 seafood marketing assessment; and providing for an effective date."           
                                                                               
      - PASSED SSHB 397 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                       
                                                                               
 CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 81(FIN)                                                
 "An Act amending the Fish and Game Code by removing 'wolf' from the           
 definition of 'big game'; relating to the classification and taking           
 of wolves; and providing for a harvest incentive on wolves taken in           
 areas designated by the Board of Game."                                       
                                                                               
      - PASSED CSSB 81(FIN) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                   
                                                                               
 *HOUSE BILL NO. 447                                                           
 "An Act providing that state land, water, and land and water may              
 not be classified so as to preclude or restrict traditional means             
 of access for traditional recreational uses."                                 
                                                                               
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
                                                                               
 (* First Public Hearing)                                                      
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 397                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: FISH LANDING TAX/SEAFOOD MARKETING ASSMT.                        
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) AUSTERMAN                                       
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                 ACTION                                    
 01/08/96      2370    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/08/96      2371    (H)   FSH, RESOURCES, FINANCE                           
 01/17/96      2463    (H)   SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS           
 01/17/96      2463    (H)   FSH, RESOURCES, FINANCE                           
 01/17/96              (H)   FSH AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
 01/17/96              (H)   MINUTE(FSH)                                       
 01/19/96      2482    (H)   FSH RPT  3DP 1NR                                  
 01/19/96      2482    (H)   DP: ELTON, MOSES, AUSTERMAN                       
 01/19/96      2482    (H)   NR: G.DAVIS                                       
 01/19/96      2483    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                                
 01/19/96      2483    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (REV)                            
 01/19/96      2483    (H)   REFERRED TO RESOURCES                             
 01/31/96              (H)   RES AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 124                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  SB  81                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: CLASSIFYING WOLF AS PREDATOR                                     
 SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) SHARP, Taylor, Miller                                  
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                 ACTION                                    
 02/09/95       222    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/09/95       222    (S)   RESOURCES                                         
 02/20/95              (S)   RES AT 03:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 02/20/95              (S)   MINUTE(RES)                                       
 03/22/95              (S)   RES AT 03:15 PM CAPITOL ROOM 408                  
 03/27/95              (S)   RES AT 03:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/27/95              (S)   MINUTE(RES)                                       
 03/28/95       808    (S)   RES RPT  CS  5DP 1NR      NEW TITLE               
 03/28/95       808    (S)   FN TO SB & CS (F&G)                               
 03/28/95       808    (S)   FIN REFERRAL ADDED                                
 04/24/95              (S)   FIN AT 11:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/25/95              (S)   MINUTE(FIN)                                       
 04/26/95      1248    (S)   FIN RPT  CS  3DP 3NR      NEW TITLE               
 04/27/95      1269    (S)   FN TO FIN CS (F&G)                                
 04/27/95              (S)   RLS AT 01:00 PM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203               
 04/27/95              (S)   MINUTE(RLS)                                       
 04/29/95      1337    (S)   RULES TO CALENDAR  4/29/95                        
 04/29/95      1340    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 04/29/95      1340    (S)   FIN  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                      
 04/29/95      1341    (S)   ADVANCE TO 3RD READING FLD  Y12 N6 E2             
 04/29/95      1341    (S)   THIRD READING 4/30 CALENDAR                       
 04/30/95      1366    (S)   READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 81(FIN)                 
 04/30/95      1367    (S)   PASSED Y13 N5 E2                                  
 04/30/95      1367    (S)   ADAMS  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                  
 05/01/95      1396    (S)   RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING                 
 05/01/95      1396    (S)   PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y12 N7 E1               
 05/01/95      1398    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                
 05/02/95      1728    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 05/02/95      1728    (H)   RESOURCES, FINANCE                                
 01/31/96              (H)   RES AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 124                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 447                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: CAN'T CLOSE LAND TO TRADITIONAL REC. USES                        
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MASEK, Williams                                 
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                 ACTION                                    
 01/24/96      2524    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/24/96      2524    (H)   RESOURCES                                         
 01/26/96      2548    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  WILLIAMS                           
 01/31/96              (H)   RES AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 124                       
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 BOB BARTHOLOMEW, Deputy Director                                              
 Division of Income and Excise Audit                                           
 Department of Revenue                                                         
 P. O. Box 110420                                                              
 Juneau, AK  99801-0420                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2320                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  The Department of Revenue supports HB 397.               
                                                                               
 DICK BISHOP, Executive Director                                               
 Alaska Outdoor Council                                                        
 1555 Gus's Grind                                                              
 Fairbanks, AK  99709                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 455-6151                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 81 and HB 447.                
                                                                               
 SANDRA ARNOLD                                                                 
 P.O. Box 202022                                                               
 Anchorage, AK  99520                                                          
 Telephone: 455-8120                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 81.                                 
                                                                               
 BO FORREST, Volunteer                                                         
 Alaska Environmental Lobby                                                    
 P. O. Box 2215                                                                
 Juneau, AK  99801                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 463-3366                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 81.                                 
                                                                               
 WAYNE REGELIN, Director                                                       
 Division of Wildlife Conservation                                             
 Department of Fish & Game                                                     
 P. O. Box 25526                                                               
 Juneau, AK  99802-6626                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 465-6196                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  The Administration is opposed to SB 81.                  
                                                                               
 BILL HAGAR                                                                    
 431 Gaffney Road                                                              
 Fairbanks, AK  99701                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 452-6295                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 81.                           
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-10, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN BILL WILLIAMS called the House Resources Committee                
 meeting to order at 8:06 a.m.  Members present at the call to order           
 were Representatives Williams, Green, Ogan, Austerman, Davies, Kott           
 and Long.  Representatives Barnes and Nicholia were absent.                   
                                                                               
 HB 397 - FISH LANDING TAX/SEAFOOD MARKETING ASSESSMENT                      
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced that the committee would hear from             
 the sponsor, Representative Alan Austerman, and the Department of             
 Revenue.  He stated his intention to move SSHB 397 from the House             
 Resources Committee and declared that CO-CHAIRMAN JOE GREEN would             
 chair the remainder of the meeting.                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN said two years ago, the legislature             
 passed the Fishery Resource Landing Tax which established a tax on            
 offshore fisheries which landed product in Alaska.  HB 397 was                
 introduced to clean up a problem area in the tax so that it will              
 not be challenged in court.                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN continued, the American Factory Trawlers             
 Association filed action against the state after the landing tax              
 was passed.  He said the court remanded the case back to the state            
 asserting that the American Factory Trawlers Association had to go            
 through the state process of review on their tax claim before it              
 came to the court.  He said the original tax included .3 percent              
 for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), and HB 397                 
 separates the ASMI .3 percent tax from the 3.0 percent Fisheries              
 Business Tax.  He asked the Department of Revenue to explain the              
 technicalities.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 290                                                                    
                                                                               
 BOB BARTHOLOMEW, Deputy Director, Income and Excise Tax Division,             
 Department of Revenue said HB 397 was introduced to strengthen the            
 Fishery Landing Tax implemented by the legislature in 1994 and,               
 subsequently, challenged in its first year.  He said the tax raised           
 $7 million in its first full year of collections; half of which is            
 shared with the communities where the fish are landed and the other           
 half goes into the general fund.  He said the Department of Revenue           
 supports HB 397 to strengthen existing statute. It has a zero                 
 fiscal note.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. BARTHOLOMEW said the bill does not change the program. HB 397             
 makes the Fishery Landing Tax which is essentially for the offshore           
 fishing fleet as close as we can get it to the Fisheries Business             
 Tax.  The intent is to match the two fisheries taxes and make it so           
 that all taxpayers are treated equally.                                       
                                                                               
 MR. BARTHOLOMEW identified changes in the legislation.  In HB 397,            
 the 3.3 percent landing tax which includes .3 percent for ASMI is             
 reestablished to a 3 percent landing tax with a separate .3 percent           
 seafood marketing assessment.  This separates the marketing                   
 assessment in statute and equalizes the landing tax and the shore-            
 based fisheries business tax.  A new section is added: Section 22.            
 AS 43.77.045 Fisheries Resources Landing Tax Education Credit which           
 adds to this tax the ability to take an education credit.                     
                                                                               
 Number 506                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if HB 397 addresses or circumvents the                
 problems with the trawlers association and similar plaintiffs.                
                                                                               
 MR. BARTHOLOMEW said the bill was introduced to meet the challenges           
 brought by the association, and any weaknesses in the tax.                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if this fix will take care of any other               
 litigants.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BARTHOLOMEW said the bill will take care of any challenges the            
 Department of Revenue is aware of.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 580                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES asked explanation of the multiple                  
 changes to the language concerning the value paid being substituted           
 by seafood products "produced."                                               
                                                                               
 MR. BARTHOLOMEW said the Department of Revenue feels the intent is            
 exactly the same.  We are just clarifying the fact that if you do             
 not purchase the fish, you just catch it; the Department of Revenue           
 is going to call that "produced" and it should be subject to the              
 seafood marketing assessment.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 711                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS noted the presence of Senator Bert Sharp.                
                                                                               
 Number 752                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT said HB 397 is a good bill and it cleans             
 up the statutes.  He moved that SSHB 397 move from the Resources              
 Committee with individual recommendations with the attached zero              
 fiscal note.  Hearing no objections, it was so ordered.                       
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS turned the gavel over to C0-CHAIRMAN GREEN.              
                                                                               
 SB 81 - CLASSIFYING WOLF AS PREDATOR                                        
 Number 780                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said the committee would hear CSSB 81(FIN)                  
 concerning the reinstatement of the harvest incentive on wolves.              
 He said there are a number of witnesses on the teleconference                 
 network who wish to testify.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 832                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR BERT SHARP said SB 81 had changed considerably since it was           
 originally introduced in the Senate by accommodating many of the              
 Department of Fish and Game's objections.  He said the DF&G was               
 still negatively neutral and he would let them address their                  
 concerns.                                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP referred to his sponsor statement: "Why It's Time to           
 Re-instate a Harvest Incentive on Wolves.  The history of season             
 accessibility to game by Alaskan Hunters as determined by open                
 season lengths.  He said, "particularly, in the area north of the             
 Alaska range there is only a forty mile area where there is road              
 and river access into the caribou ranges.  There has been very                
 restricted seasons and very restricted access primarily in Tier II            
 that keeps many licensed hunters from participating in the caribou            
 harvest there."                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP discussed a recent Division of Game study of the                
 Forty-mile caribou herd, and said the results pointed out                     
 interesting factors which he would not address except the results             
 that the range, over the years, had supported as high as an excess            
 of 500,000 animals in the herd and went down as low as 15,000.  He            
 said the herd had stabilized at 22,000 over the past four years.              
 The range is in excellent shape and the herd is highly productive,            
 with about 8,500 calves born from 22,000 animals every year.  The             
 primary problem is, out of those 8,500 calves, less than 10 percent           
 survive to be yearlings, and less than that into full-fledged                 
 adults.                                                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said the study indicated that the "culprits" were               
 five or six packs of wolves in the area at calving time.  He said             
 he would make the task force results and recommendations available            
 to the committee which he added, "did not recommend any predator              
 harvest."  He said the recommendations included the findings that             
 the human harvest is insignificant and has no effect on the                   
 biological growth because the herd has the highest proportion of              
 bulls to cows of any herd in the state.  He said there was no                 
 problem with taking 350 bulls, the study reduced that down to 150.            
                                                                               
 Number 1092                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP continued, "So, why has things like this happened and           
 why are vast areas of the state closed or we have very limited                
 access for the privilege of hunting, I won't call it privilege, I             
 will call it right to harvest natural resources.                              
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP stated, "The last four governors, and now Governor              
 Knowles, have consistently ignored the recommendations of the                 
 Department of Fish and Game calling for intensive predator control            
 actions.  These were Department actions based on bookcases full of            
 scientific studies, game surveys resulting in results that cost               
 tens of millions of dollars and years of public testimony.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP continued, "The actions of Hickel and Knowles have              
 twice squashed pilot wolf reduction programs which meticulously               
 evolved out of years of planning, public input and Board actions,             
 and it only applied to 6,500 square miles, less than 1 percent of             
 our state lands.                                                              
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said, "Previous governors as well as the current                
 governor choose to thwart Department, Board, Public and Legislative           
 directions for predator control programs by executive orders,                 
 removal of key personnel and shifting legislatively approved                  
 funding to other passive management areas.                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said, "Two years ago, this legislature passed                   
 intensive game management mandated legislation.                               
                                                                               
 Number 1163                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP stated, "At the December, 1994 and March 1994 Board             
 of Game meetings, public proposal called for intensive management             
 implementation in Game management Units 13, 19, 20A, 20C, 20D and             
 25C.                                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP continued, "At the December meeting, the Department             
 gave the following Review on Unit 13:                                         
                                                                               
 1.  Another deep snow, tough winter this year which will make it an           
 unprecedented four in a row.                                                  
                                                                               
 2.  Moose populations down 20-25 percent and continuing down.               
                                                                               
 3.  Moose calf and `15 month yearling' populations are at extremely           
 low levels which will cause additional deterioration of Unit 13               
 Moose numbers.                                                                
                                                                               
 4.  A higher than average wolf population with strong indications             
 of a much more lower wolf harvest by trappers and hunters this                
 season.                                                                       
                                                                               
 5.  Continue record high levels of Grizzly bear population levels.            
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP proceeded, "Based on the state statute on intensive             
 management and this criteria, what do you think a responsible                 
 Department would recommend?  Reduce wolf population, liberalize               
 bear hunting seasons from 1 every 4 years to 1 each year.  Planned            
 control burn to improve habitat?  The fact is none of the above.              
 No resource management recommendations from the department to the             
 board on Unit 13."                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 1217                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP emphasized that the department did eliminate the                
 Grizzly bear permit for residents and allow a Grizzly Bear harvest            
 every year instead of every four years.  He said the Board of Game            
 had made that recommendation over the objections of the Department            
 of Fish and Game.                                                             
                                                                               
 "The Department of Fish and Game ignored these warning signals and            
 gave their standard signal, business as usual, proposing reduced              
 seasons and more stringent antler size limitation.  Continue                  
 managing people not the resource.                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP resumed his testimony, "At the next Board meeting, 3            
 1/2 months later, the only positive action was reluctant approval             
 to liberalize the bear harvest in Unit 13.  This was done by the              
 Board without a recommendation from a passive Department.  No                 
 active predator control was authorized.                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said, "I would like to continue to work toward                  
 getting the Department focused on resource management and not                 
 people management.  Budget shifts can get the job done with no                
 increase in costs.  We are trying to do this.                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP stated, "Some who will come forward in opposition of            
 this bill will justify their testimony by saying we must keep               
 politics out of the game management process.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 1311                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP proceeded, "I can only reply that we are at this                
 point only because of blackmail politics by special interest groups         
 who are financed primarily by outside interest.  They have totally            
 thwarted and frustrated the public process in our state.                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said. "This bill is a simple statement.  Alaskans             
 demand that this resource be managed with their best interest being         
 the paramount issue.  This bill is here because of politics                 
 destroying wise game management in our state.                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP continued, "Many believe this bill is far from what             
 is needed.  They point to sections which still leaves the power to            
 initiate harvest incentive at the discretion of the Board of Game.            
 At this time, I am still hopeful the Board will use this authority            
 in specific areas where high predator populations are a major                 
 contributing factor in destroying game resource availability to               
 Alaskans.                                                                     
 SENATOR SHARP concluded his sponsor statement, "This bill simply            
 stated gives the Board of Game the authority and a tool to put the            
 power back into the hands of the people in an arena where                     
 government has miserably failed.  Careful examination of this bill          
 reveals another feature.  It's an Alaskan Hire piece of                       
 legislation."                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1446                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said SB 81, by reclassifying the wolf from game                 
 animal to unclassified game animal, and a fur bearer, will go a               
 long way in allowing the board to focus pressure on predators,                
 specifically wolves, where it is a major, major problem.                      
                                                                               
 Number 1520                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DON LONG asked clarification of the procedures used            
 by the Board of Game in the designated harvest incentive areas.               
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP answered that the Board of Game has, historically,              
 accepted public input when local citizens say there is a problem,             
 and they study the game management subunits.  That is why the bill            
 allows focusing by the board in areas designated by the board.                
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said one objection to the original bill was that it             
 allowed incentive on wolves statewide and could jeopardize areas              
 where the wolf populations are low, thus creating an endangered               
 species.  That is why the bill was restructured in Senate Finance             
 Committee.  So, the board focused on areas within a game unit where           
 the scientific data showed there was a problem on game population             
 levels and predation was significant.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1606                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES said the bill talks about harvest                  
 incentives, he asked if that term also means "bounty."                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said, "It could be, it could also be incentives paid            
 to recognized groups that the department may want to contract with            
 to perform the harvesting of the predators within the bounty where            
 these groups live, particularly in Game management Unit 19.  He               
 said six or seven villages wrote in support of the bill last year.            
 The bill was broadened to allow the department to pay individuals,            
 or contract with a village council, or a group that lives close to            
 the area, to trap the area.  He said harvest incentives could also            
 mean an agreement based on the achievement of the goals of the                
 agreement.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1678                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he was a little confused by that                   
 explanation.  He said as he reads the bill, it just says "pay an              
 harvest incentive of $200.00 per animal to a person."  He said he             
 did not see anything in the bill about contracting with a village             
 council.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said the bill does not preclude a group from getting            
 together.  The key is about "per animal" and subject to working out           
 arrangements with the department, or focusing on a group.  The bill           
 points out the controls that have been proven effective on ceiling,           
 validating and so forth by the department.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1718                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said one of the objections to "bounties" in             
 the past has been the potential for abuse in terms of harvesting              
 outside the area that is designated by the board.  He asked Senator           
 Sharp to comment on that aspect and to explain how the state can              
 expect to control since there is no fiscal note from the Department           
 of Public Safety.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said most of the control will be done by the                    
 biologists in the field because they give the advice to the board             
 on what areas should be done.  He said if the department wants to             
 call in the protection, prosecution and follow up of investigative            
 work, they can do that.  He said if there are apparent abuses, the            
 department has adequate personnel to keep tight controls.  If this            
 happens in the first couple of projects, the department is going to           
 be very tight on the harvest and direct the exact packs they want             
 the pressure on.  The Forty-mile people indicated that they knew              
 what the pack activity was.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1810                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked Senator Sharp if he felt the Department           
 of Fish and Game can put regulations in place that make it harder             
 to take wolves from out of the designated areas and claim they were           
 taken from "within the designated areas."                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP deferred to the Department of Fish and Game.                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES referred to the Department of Fish and Game             
 fiscal note assumptions "any enforcement costs will be assumed by             
 Department of Public Safety."  He said that was the reason for his            
 earlier question and stated that he felt the department will very             
 carefully outline the area in which they expect the harvest                   
 incentive to be focused.  Representative Davies wanted further                
 clarification on people who will collect wolves from remote areas             
 because it happens to be convenient. How are we going to know that?           
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP replied the same way moose is monitored in areas                
 where they are not supposed to be harvested.  The department has              
 the parameters set up and should be able to monitor it better than            
 monitoring other game regulations because it will be a high profile           
 exercise.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1878                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES referred to Senator Sharp's sponsor statement           
 concerning the "squashed pilot wolf reduction programs that                   
 meticulously evolved out of years of planning.  He said it is true            
 that this has been addressed for years.  One of the problems with             
 the wolf control projects that we have had is, perhaps, that they             
 have not been meticulously planned.                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES continued, one specific aspect is public                
 relations. This an area that has attracted a public interest beyond           
 the immediate areas involved.  He said earlier versions of wolf               
 control programs recommended the state put resources into doing the           
 public relations before the problem developed.  He asked Senator              
 Sharp if he agreed that the state has not done enough public                  
 education to gather acceptance for intensive game management                  
 programs.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1930                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP said it depends on who the public relations targets,            
 Alaskans or the whole world; and we do not have the resources to              
 educate the whole world.  He said we are subject to high technology           
 like CNN type news and anything can be news from Fairbanks, Alaska            
 to Timbuktu.  He felt that it is not the department's                         
 responsibility to get into high profile public relations to try to            
 influence and control the attitude and the minds of the general               
 public.  He said the department should focus on the biological data           
 that we spend millions of dollars developing and make their                   
 recommendations based on that and proceed.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 2028                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN said he has personal experience hunting             
 on horseback in Unit 13, and can testify that there are very few              
 moose calves in that area.   He said he supports SB 81 because it             
 offers a better way to manage predators.                                      
                                                                               
 C0-CHAIRMAN GREEN said he would take teleconference testimony at              
 this time.                                                                    
                                                                               
 DICK BISHOP, Executive Director, Alaska Outdoor Council, said he              
 agreed with comments made by Senator Sharp and Representative Ogan            
 about management of big game prey populations in parts of the                 
 Interior and Southcentral Alaska.  He said, in the past, control of           
 wolf populations has been the only effective means of allowing the            
 prey populations to recover.  The problem is real.  You are looking           
 at only 10 to 20 percent of the state where active game management            
 can and has the availability of prey for human uses.                          
                                                                               
 MR. BISHOP said the question raised by Representative Davies                  
 concerning bounties is that bounties were a general application of            
 a financial reward or remuneration for taking a particular kind of            
 animal.  This bill does do that it, it addresses it to a specific             
 area.  One of the difficulties with game management is the                    
 disinformation distributed widely and callously by opponents of               
 game management in the media.                                                 
                                                                               
 MR. BISHOP said he felt that the department has not adequately                
 presented the facts relating to the predator-prey system management           
 even though they have done an outstanding job of researching it. He           
 felt the department has not made the effort that should be made to            
 inform the world that sound fish and game management does not                 
 threaten wolf populations.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 2323                                                                   
                                                                               
 SANDRA ARNOLD testified relating that she has a science degree in             
 wildlife ecology and Masters degree in wildlife policy.  She said             
 she opposes SB 81 for multiple reasons.  Ms. Arnold said she had              
 researched bounties in professional wildlife management literature            
 and quoted from the following:                                                
                                                                               
 Robertson and Bollen, Wildlife Management, Stanford, University.            
 "Putting a price on the head of an animal, at first, seems to be an           
 effective way of reducing its numbers.  However, millions of public           
 dollars have been paid to hunters in the West with no detectable              
 finding of diminishing predators.  Bounties are also subject to               
 fraud."                                                                       
                                                                               
 Young and Goldman, The Wolves of North America.  "Bounty systems            
 are honeycombed with fraud and centuries of its use brings to light           
 endless examples of this.  It is a system that just can't work."              
                                                                               
 Dr. Mark Keikoff, (Sp.) Predators and Wildlife Management, Academic         
 Press.  "Historically bounties with rare exceptions have                      
 consistently failed to achieve their goals."                                  
                                                                               
 Gerald Eddy, Director, Minnesota Department of Conservation.                  
 "Bounties fail to control predators.  We are paying bounties for              
 animals that will be killed anyway."  Ms. Arnold noted that Mr.               
 Eddy points out the invitation to fraud.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 2380                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. ARNOLD said, "Missouri paid more than $2 million to kill                  
 200,000 coyotes with no effect on the coyote population."                     
                                                                               
 Elmer Shaw, Analysis of Laws Relating to Wolf Bounties, Library of          
 Congress. "Professional wildlife biologists do not consider the               
 bounty system to be an effective method of predator control.                  
                                                                               
 L. David Meach, The Wolf.  "The bounty system is an ineffective and         
 inefficient method of controlling wolves and millions of dollars              
 have been wasted through bounty payments.  However, bounties can              
 persist whether or not they are actually needed or have any effect            
 because basically a strong political tool especially to legislators           
 from the fringes of wild areas, such as Fairbanks, because there              
 are relatively few spectacular issues that can project a                      
 representative from such an area into the headlines. All this is              
 aside from whether or not the bounty is necessary or useful."                 
                                                                               
 Number 2449                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. ARNOLD said Department of Fish and Game reports indicate that             
 Alaska has abolished bounties three times in its history because it           
 was a waste of money, it did not work and it was unpopular with the           
 public.  She said bounties do not work, yet we are considering this           
 meritless idea once again because a small number of extremists                
 cannot accept the fact that this is not the "good old days."                  
                                                                               
 CHANGE TAPE                                                                   
 TAPE 96-10, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. ARNOLD stated that the urban centers of Alaska care more and              
 pay more attention now to its wildlife management because our                 
 constitution says that wildlife belongs equally to all of us.                 
                                                                               
 MS. ARNOLD concluded, bounties hold an overly simplistic view of              
 ecosystems, they do not work.  They are expensive in the time of              
 cutting government programs and subsidies, and they are not                   
 supported by the public; and public opinion does count.                       
                                                                               
 Number 063                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN addressed Ms. Arnold about her views and said               
 there are some areas where wolf control has been effective.                   
                                                                               
 Number 106                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN commented on Ms. Arnold's testimony saying that           
 it is hard to believe that the taking of 200,000 coyotes had no               
 effect on the population.  He said the Alaska Constitution does not           
 say that wildlife belongs equally to all of us; it talks about the            
 common use clause which the framers of the constitution were likely           
 talking about consumptive use.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 125                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT countered to Ms. Arnold that her testimony           
 seemed to indicate that she is strongly in opposition to the bounty           
 system, but that she did not seem to be opposed to the harvesting             
 of wolves.                                                                    
 Number 143                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. ARNOLD felt there is a legitimate use of wolves, foxes and                
 lynx.  She said what she is opposed to is trying to artificially              
 boost game numbers in areas along the road system that is being               
 used, primarily, by the urban sporting population.  The statistics            
 show us that in Unit 13, for example, nearly 80 percent of the                
 hunters in that unit are from the urban areas and earn more than              
 $80,000 a year.  She said is opposed to manipulating that component           
 of all the parameters of the ecosystem which does not always work,            
 at the great expense of eroding Alaska's public image and offers              
 something that often times has no measurable benefit and ends up by           
 dividing Alaska.  She said we can better spend that money on better           
 wildlife law enforcement, habitat protection or, if we want to                
 subsidize hunters, how about flying them out to Western Alaska                
 where we have an oversupply of caribou.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 197                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said there seems to be a perception here that             
 sportsmen want to eradicate wolves.  He said no one wants to                  
 eradicate wolves.  We either manage people or we manage wildlife.             
 He said we can allow Mother Nature to manage these wildlife or we             
 can control the situation and keep enough wolves to do their job              
 and provide that balance.  He feels the state should actively                 
 manage its wildlife rather than managing it by default.                       
                                                                               
 Number 261                                                                    
                                                                               
 BO FORREST, Alaska Environmental Lobby Volunteer, presented his               
 testimony for the record stating:                                             
                                                                               
 "SB 81 is a prime example of extreme politicians trying to strong-            
 arm inappropriate legislation into law.  This legislation denies              
 economic reason.  The last wolf-kill legislation the state                    
 implemented was budgeted for $100,000 dollars, but ultimately the             
 state shelled out over $229,000 for 120 mutilated carcasses.  This            
 doesn't include legal expenditures for defending such irresponsible           
 policy in the eyes of an outraged state, nation and planet.                   
                                                                               
 MR. FORREST said, "Currently, $675,000 dollars is earmarked for the           
 proposed wolf-bounty program, a program which could realistically             
 pay out cash for the skin and foreleg of a protected wolf, or even            
 a wolf from another country.  There is no way to control the                  
 location of the proposed killing, and the skin remains with the               
 person receiving the bounty.  Who can say with certainty what the             
 bottom line will be?                                                          
                                                                               
 MR. FORREST continued, "Furthermore, there will be lawsuits, loss             
 of tourism revenue, public hearings, and the loss of public                   
 confidence in our political system and Alaska's ability to manage             
 its wildlife in a responsible and sustainable way.                            
 MR. FORREST stated, "Many legislators proclaim that the highest and           
 best use of our wildlife is provided through human consumptive use            
 of this wildlife.  ADF&G, however, has recent economic research               
 figures indicating that the large number of tourists that visit the           
 state each year would pay higher amounts of cash to view Alaska's             
 big game populations, including wolves and bears, than would the              
 handful of recreational hunters that feel they don't have an                  
 adequate chance of killing something unless they are the sole                 
 predator on the clock that particular day.  And under the Alaska              
 State Constitution's `common use clause,' Alaska wildlife belongs             
 to all Alaskans, not only the consumptive use bidders or the                  
 highest users.  There are a multitude of wildlife interests in                
 Alaska, and SB 81 threatens the balance of the community at the               
 focal-point of those combined interests.                                      
                                                                               
 MR. FORREST proceeded, "Passage of this bill will be political                
 suicide.  In the face of public censure based on existing                     
 scientific evidence and consensus, this bill represents a                     
 contemptuous response to a workable problem.  If in extreme cases             
 wolf control is needed in specific circumstances, let's make                  
 scientific decisions backed by public understanding and support.              
                                                                               
 MR. FORREST stated, "The current policies allowing the killing of             
 wolves with strangulation snares, steel-jawed traps, the use of all           
 terrain-vehicles and snow machines combined with semi-automatic               
 assault rifles, and the same-day land and shoot approach using air-           
 craft already has Alaska under worldwide scrutiny.  The additional            
 bounty on wolves is unnecessary and unacceptable.                             
                                                                               
 MR. FORREST continued, "Many past policies are no longer                      
 acceptable.  Bounties have not been successful throughout their               
 history in this state, and there's no reason to suffer through                
 another attempt now.  Alaska's physical and biological complexities           
 deserve responsible and realistic nurturing towards a sustainable             
 and optimal yield, not a reductionism approach to management.                 
                                                                               
 MR. FORREST said, "The proposal before you is not a well-meaning              
 attempt to exploit responsibly, but a stumbling, uncontrolled, and            
 unnecessary lunge at a monster that does not exist beyond the                 
 boundaries of a few archaic minds.                                            
                                                                               
 MR. FORREST testified, "This is the same type of mentality that               
 called for and received a bounty on the American Bald Eagle, a                
 bounty that was in effect from 1915 until as recently as 1953 in              
 Alaska.  Have we not learned our lesson yet?                                  
                                                                               
 MR. FORREST concluded, "The cost of each dead wolf will well exceed           
 its $200 limit.  In the end, Alaska will pay with Her soul.                   
                                                                               
 Number 436                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN introduced Wayne Regelin from the Department of             
 Fish and Game.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 454                                                                    
                                                                               
 WAYNE REGELIN, Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation,                   
 Department of Fish and Game introduced Ken Taylor, the new Deputy             
 Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation.  He said would             
 address SB 81 and then he wanted to address some of the earlier               
 testimony.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said SB 81, as it has been changed, and if it were                
 passed, would reclassify the wolf as an "unclassified" game animal            
 rather than being a big game animal.  It would provide a harvest              
 incentive of $200 per wolf in areas designated by the Board of Game           
 where it was necessary.  It would eliminate nonresident and                   
 nonresident alien tag fees for hunting of wolves.  This version of            
 SB 81 has been changed very significantly and is much improved over           
 the original SB 81 which was a bounty system statewide.                       
                                                                               
 Number 530                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said the Department of Fish and Game still has some               
 real concerns about SB 81. The Administration does not support the            
 bill.                                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said game in Alaska is classified by the Board of Game            
 as either big game or small game; unclassified game is fur animal             
 or fur bearer.  A trapping license is required to take an animal              
 under the "fur bearer" regulations and a hunting license is                   
 required to take animals classified as a big game or fur bearer               
 animal.  Some animals, like the wolf, have dual classifications so            
 they can be trapped as well as hunted.  The wolf is now classified            
 as both a big game animal and a fur bearer.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 556                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said the Board of Game has adopted specific methods and           
 means of restrictions for the harvest of big game for hunting, but            
 they have not done so for unclassified game.  It is legal to hunt             
 unclassified game the same day a person has been airborne while it            
 is not for most big game species in Alaska.  So, by changing the              
 classification of the wolf to "unclassified," it will send a                  
 message to Alaska that we consider the wolf in the same class as              
 those species commonly considered vermin.  The current unclassified           
 species in Alaska are rats, mice and starling.  There are no                  
 seasons and no bag limits, and no restrictions on the taking of               
 unclassified game.  Sending this message will provide a lot of                
 ammunition to the animal rights groups and extremists which will              
 further erode the department's ability to manage Alaska's wolf                
 populations.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 603                                                                    
 MR. REGELIN felt the harvest incentive program as outlined in SB 81           
 will be impossible to implement.  He suggested instead that the               
 Board of Game establish regulations and procedures to control,                
 properly manage and eliminate fraud in the program.                           
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN stated that the $200.00 incentive, added to the pelt              
 value, might be incentive enough for some trappers to increase                
 their harvest in the areas.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 636                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said even though this is called the harvest incentive             
 program, and only would be applied to a few areas in Alaska; the              
 press and the public are going to call it a bounty.  The state of             
 Alaska will suffer severe criticism by those who have been very               
 effective in the past at crying wolf.                                         
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said that repealing the nonresident and nonresident               
 alien tag fee will have little impact on wolf populations because             
 nonresidents do not take many.  The revenue generated by                      
 nonresident wolf hunters is about $50,000 per year.  A lot of                 
 nonresident hunters buy a tag just in case they might see a wolf.             
                                                                               
 Number 668                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN conjectured that he felt it unwise to pass this bill              
 because of the overwhelming public opposition to bounties and that            
 SB 81 is not in the best interest of wolf management in Alaska, in            
 the long term.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 702                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said he would address earlier testimony and discussed             
 the two areas of Alaska where there are real problems with wolves.            
 In the area around McGrath, the moose population is being severely            
 impacted by wolves and it is reducing the ability of the people               
 there to harvest moose.  In the other area, the Forty-mile caribou            
 herd, there is about 22,000 caribou.  He said there is no doubt               
 that there could be 200,000 and what is keeping the herd from                 
 growing is wolf predation.                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said last fall, the Board of Game implemented SB 77,              
 the intensive management law that was passed in 1994, and                     
 authorized predator management programs for both McGrath and the              
 Forty-mile caribou herd, but delayed implementation of them until             
 1997, in order for the National Academy of Science to complete the            
 review that the Governor requested them to do.                                
                                                                               
 Number 769                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said in Unit 13, the management of wolves is not a big            
 problem in that area.  He said there are about 350 to 400 wolves in           
 the area with a harvest goal each year of 170 to 180.  The trappers           
 and hunters have been able to achieve that goal each year leaving             
 a minimum population of wolves to maintain in that area.  He said             
 we do not need wolf control in Unit 13, the big problem there is              
 Grizzly bears predation on moose calves.                                      
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN discussed statewide statistics of wildlife management             
 and the ability of the Board of Game to maximize harvests on a                
 sustained yield basis.  He said there are two areas where we have             
 a big problem with predators and it is beyond the division's                  
 control to fix those.  Those decisions are being made at much                 
 higher levels and the division is in real jeopardy of losing its              
 ability and funding to manage wildlife around Alaska because we               
 cannot do wolf control in a couple of areas.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 962                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN talked about the seasons along the road system being              
 restricted and the department's ability to extend the season to 30            
 days in most road connected areas, and to begin the season before             
 school starts.  He said we are harvesting just as many moose as we            
 did 20 years ago along the road system in Unit 13, it fluctuates              
 from about 800 to 1,000 in that area, and it is the same in Unit              
 20A.  He said there are a lot of moose in those Units and they need           
 to be harvested.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 1033                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said the department was prevented from having cow                 
 harvest seasons in those areas because of the way the law is                  
 structured.  Local advisory committees can stop cow moose hunts and           
 have done so in Units 13 and 20A.  We are near carrying capacity in           
 both of these areas, but we cannot increase the harvest of bulls              
 only or the bull-cow ratio gets out of balance and productivity               
 declines.  He said it is the same in the Nelchina basin, the                  
 division will recommend to the Board of Game to take action to                
 allow taking about 6,000 to 7,000 caribou in Unit 13.  He said the            
 caribou population there is about 50,000.  He said we just cannot             
 carry that many caribou because of federal intervention in the                
 subsistence laws.  A caribou hunt is a Tier II.  It is difficult              
 for us to manage, but we are going to issue enough Tier II permits            
 or go from a Tier I to a Tier II combination.  That will be a board           
 decision on how to allocate the permits.  Mr. Regelin said the                
 department would like to harvest about 12,000 caribou in that herd            
 to reduce it.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1104                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Mr. Regelin to confirm that the department            
 is currently using predator control in some areas.                            
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said the department prefers to call it regulation of              
 populations or just good wildlife management.  He responded that in           
 Unit 13, the department has changed the season and the bag limits             
 on Grizzly bears. That has been done in areas where there are a lot           
 of Grizzlies and the board decided that the management goal of this           
 one area is to produce more ungulates.  He said the department is             
 not doing any wolf control as such, but manages wolves by trapping            
 and hunting.  About 1,200 to 1,500 wolves are taken each year.  In            
 Unit 13, we set goals on the numbers on wolves we would like                  
 hunters and trappers to take.  That is done through a management              
 plan with a lot of public input to make sure that wolves are not              
 overharvested and are kept in balance.                                        
                                                                               
 NUMBER 1180                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said he appreciates Mr. Regelin's caveat, but the           
 fact is, there are wolves and bears being taken now through animal            
 control or through the department's animal management program.  So,           
 the hue and cry, the concept that we are destroying Rin Tin Tin               
 from the Outside, that is already there.  The fact that we are                
 already doing it should not be foreign to the state.                          
                                                                               
 Number 1258                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said the department tries to regulate through science             
 and good management practices all of the game populations which               
 includes wolves and bears.  We do not call it "moose control" when            
 we regulate the numbers of moose and we have to do that.                      
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said in response to Chairman Green's question about the           
 state having very few roads that if you build roads in Alaska, it             
 increases opportunities to harvest and the department can manage              
 that access appropriately.                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said that was exactly his point, we will do                 
 things for the sake of mankind by allowing him to live and move               
 around here, yet for the sake of mankind, to get an additional                
 harvest, we are resistant to that because we would have to kill               
 wolves.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1310                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said the department is not resistant to that and work             
 hard to enhance hunting opportunities throughout the state. It is             
 one of the many legitimate uses of wildlife and we want to increase           
 that.  The problem, when you get to wolves, is that science and               
 logic seem to be lost.  It becomes an emotional argument and a                
 clash of value systems and people just do not want wolves to be               
 controlled.  The department is still managing, regulating and                 
 harvesting wolves in most areas of the state, but when you request            
 the department to take direct action where we would shoot wolves              
 out of airplanes or whether we have a trapping program; then you              
 get the public in a furor and we are kind of in a box.                        
 Number 1367                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN discussed pictures the committee was shown of               
 partially eaten and mutilated carcasses of moose and dogs where               
 wolves were not just killing to eat; they were killing to kill.               
                                                                               
 Number 1400                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said wolves are a very efficient predator and there are           
 cases the department is aware of called "surplus killing" when the            
 wolves find a very vulnerable population of animals.  They can kill           
 more than they need to eat.  It is not common but it has happened.            
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN noted the arrival of Representative Barnes.                 
                                                                               
 Number 1429                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE RAMONA BARNES talked about several instances in the            
 Anchorage area of wolves carrying off little dogs and mutilating              
 them.  She asked Mr. Regelin if the department was attending to the           
 wolf population on the fringes of Anchorage.                                  
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN responded that the hunting and trapping season is open            
 in that area so people can harvest or take those wolves, but there            
 is no department action to find the wolves in that area.                      
                                                                               
 Number 1479                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BARNES expressed concern that there are that many              
 wolves around a large population area killing little dogs for no              
 apparent reason.  She said there is a misnomer that wolves only               
 kill the old, she said wolves also kill the very young.                       
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN agreed, he said most of the predation done by wolves is           
 on younger and newborn animals up through that first year of life.            
                                                                               
 Number 1570                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said we have heard testimony that this bill is            
 just for urban hunters.  He asked Mr. Regelin if he would classify            
 the hunters around the McGrath area as urban hunters.                         
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said McGrath is a very rural area in Unit 19.  He said            
 the people of McGrath, Telida and Nikolai are primarily dependent             
 on the resource for food.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1613                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN referred to Mr. Regelin's testimony as saying             
 Grizzly bears have a long life and low reproductivity.  He asked if           
 that is a fair characteristic of a wolf as well.                              
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said wolves have a very high reproductive rate and, for           
 that reason, why they can be managed differently.  They move around           
 and interchange in packs and colonize new areas very rapidly.  They           
 have a reproductive rate of up to 40 percent a year.                          
                                                                               
 Number 1646                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked, is it true that the Forty-mile caribou             
 herd is in serious trouble?  If it is, is wolf predation a major              
 factor in the decline of that herd?                                           
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN responded that the Forty-mile caribou herd, located               
 north of Tok covers a large area of eastern Interior Alaska.  It is           
 not in trouble, there are 22,000 animals there.  He said the herd             
 dropped to about 7,500 in the late 1970s and has gradually built              
 up.  But it is not growing.  The range there is good habitat, in              
 empty country, and can handle ten times or more caribou.  The                 
 department is trying to get that population to grow.  We have had             
 restrictive seasons of bulls only, but it is growing slowly because           
 of wolf predation on newborn calves.                                          
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN discussed the Forty-mile Planning Team which included             
 participants from Anchorage, Fairbanks and Canada.  He said this              
 not a departmental planning team, this is a grass roots effort that           
 came out of the local advisory committees in the area.  The team              
 asked themselves what they could do to solve the problem of                   
 predation on calves to increase the caribou herd from 20,000 to               
 200,000.  The planning committee recommended moving juvenile wolves           
 and sterilizing adult male wolves.  The department is looking at              
 that to see if it can be done.  The planning team is still intact             
 to help us do this and we are hopeful there will be something to              
 come from their recommendation.  This group, which included some of           
 our most vocal critics, realized that wolf control was probably not           
 going to happen and they looked at alternative ways to take actions           
 to be successful.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 1844                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN related that the federal government had once              
 maintained a wolf control, almost an eradication program, in Alaska           
 using methods such as cyanide traps.  He said there is a perception           
 by the public that Alaskan hunters think that the only good wolf,             
 is a dead wolf.  We are simply trying to manipulate the situation             
 to bring the levels down to assure there are adequate populations             
 of wolves.  He asked Mr. Regelin to compare this to the activities            
 that went on in the past, in Alaska.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1955                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said before statehood there was widespread wolf control           
 programs.  The federal government had predator control agents in              
 Alaska whose job was to trap and poison wolves.  At statehood, one            
 of first acts of the legislature was to ban the poisoning of                  
 wildlife except in Southeast Alaska, and it was banned there in               
 1968.                                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said there are about 7,000 to 8,000 wolves in Alaska              
 right now, probably as many as the state has ever had.  He feels              
 most hunters and Alaskans are proud of the fact that we do, but the           
 state must also regulate their harvest and manage them properly or            
 in the long term there won't be any wolves.  He said good wildlife            
 management is regulating harvests and regulating wolf populations.            
                                                                               
 Number 2078                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN concurred saying he also wants to keep a                  
 healthy population of wolves in the state and that he wants to                
 manage the wildlife also.                                                     
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said the committee would hear from Bill Hagar on            
 the teleconference network.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 2106                                                                   
                                                                               
 BILL HAGAR said SB 81 is long overdue.  He testified that predator            
 harvest is difficult physically and economically.  Currently, with            
 a temporary depression in fur prices, it is not economically                  
 feasible to harvest wolves.  A raw wolf, taxidermy quality, brings            
 about $200.00 to the fur buyer.  SB 81 will help restore the                  
 feasibility to the economic side of the equation.  He said that               
 predator harvest is routinely ignored, and the imbalance of                   
 management threatens the purpose for which we manage our renewable            
 resources.  There are hundreds of thousands of moose, sheep,                  
 caribou calves and lambs that die needlessly every year.  About 87            
 percent of the harvestable surplus, under proper and balanced                 
 management could be managed to grow and feed many Alaskan families.           
                                                                               
 MR. HAGAR said there are biological predator pits developing all              
 over the state, and they are not being spoken to or managed                   
 adequately.  SB 81 is good, it is required constitutionally, and is           
 the reason we started managing game in the first place.                       
                                                                               
 Number 2365                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. HAGAR provided statistics on the growth of wolf populations and           
 said if that is not cared for on a routine basis, it can easily get           
 out of hand.  He referred to Unit 13 saying the department had                
 demonstrated that the sustaining portion of the herd had actually             
 decreased from 25,000 to 19,000 in one year.  That caribou herd is            
 in jeopardy from the wolves and the bears.  The Board of Game took            
 action only on the bear predation.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 2446                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. HAGAR said, "the National Academy of Sciences was founded by              
 the medical community to deal with medical scenario's.  I have some           
 correspondence from them that they feel reluctant to deal with the            
 issue based on".....end tape.                                                 
                                                                               
 CHANGE TAPE                                                                   
 TAPE 96-11, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS recapped earlier testimony from the sponsor,             
 Senator Sharp, that said four Governors have dealt with this issue;           
 the department recommended that we have an intensive management               
 program and we stopped because of public pressure.  Now another               
 scientist is looking at intensive game management in an area we               
 know is being hurt by the wolves.  When do we take a strong stand             
 and say who is correct?  Who is funding this scientific review?               
                                                                               
 Number 135                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN agreed saying the state has started numerous times,               
 since the 1970s, to do more intensive management and wolf control.            
 Each time it has gone on for a while and then been stopped due to             
 public opinion, and the political leadership chose to curtail those           
 activities.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said the National Academy of Science study came about             
 because the science of predator management that we were using was             
 challenged by animal rights groups and people who work for animal             
 rights groups.  The credibility of that science was challenged and            
 when that happens, it is very difficult to sit and argue amongst              
 ourselves whether the science is valid.  The Governor requested               
 that we have an outside review of the science and economics of                
 predator management in Alaska and wolf control.  That study will              
 begin very soon.  He informed the committee of the background and             
 logic for hiring the National Academy of Sciences.  He said the               
 division had $160,000 in last years general wildlife budget set               
 aside to do wolf control.  The money was kept at headquarters and             
 that money will pay the National Academy of Science review.                   
                                                                               
 Number 390                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS emphasized that the legislature has been                 
 studying this issue for years.  He said the legislature spent three           
 years working on an intensive game management bill, SB 77; which he           
 felt was a good bill at that time.  Again, the legislature is                 
 funding the division for more expert advice on an issue the                   
 legislature already said was needed.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 542                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said wolves and wildlife have coexisted forever, in               
 Alaska; and in most places there is not a problem.  There are two             
 areas where there are severe problems and when you get into those             
 predator pits without proper action, it is going to take a very               
 long time to recover.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 576                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BARNES said she felt the problem the state has with            
 wolf control is because it is classified as a big game animal; and            
 she supports SB 81 taking it out of that classification.  She                 
 questioned the necessity of the bounty.                                       
                                                                               
 MR. REGELIN said it is not necessary, in certain key areas with               
 this incentive, it might increase the harvest, but the department             
 is not sure.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 637                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BARNES moved to pass SB 81 from the Resources                  
 Committee with individual recommendations with attached fiscal                
 note.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 637                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES objected and proposed an amendment to delete            
 lines 8 through 12 on page one.                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN objected.                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he objected to SB 81 because the bill is           
 inserting politics into the management of game.  It is the purview            
 of the Board of Game to make these decisions on classifications and           
 the arguments ought to be made there.  We do not have the time or             
 the expertise here to make this kind of decision.  Secondly, in the           
 fiscal note, the state loses about $50,000 a year.  He said the               
 purpose of the bill is the harvest incentive, and feels that lines            
 eight through 12 are not necessary to achieve the harvest incentive           
 in the designated areas as indicated.  The amendment does not harm            
 the underlying purpose of the bill, it nets the state $50,000; and            
 it leaves the management and classification issues to the Board of            
 Game.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 761                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BARNES strenuously objected to the amendment because           
 the "guts" of the bill is the classification of the animal. She               
 said she also takes exception to anyone saying the legislature has            
 no business doing classification.  Under the Constitution of the              
 state of Alaska, we are solely responsible for the fish and game              
 resources and the allocation of them.  We have delegated that                 
 responsibility to the Board of Fish and Game, but we are the                  
 ultimate, responsible body.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 825                                                                    
                                                                               
 Representative Davies voted in favor of the amendment.                        
 Representatives Austerman, Barnes, Kott, Long, Nicholia, Ogan,                
 Williams and Green voted against the amendment.  So the amendment             
 failed.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 872                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BARNES said her motion was still pending to move               
 CSSB 81(FIN) from committee with individual recommendations with              
 the attached fiscal note.  She asked for unanimous consent.  There            
 being no objection, it was so ordered.                                        
                                                                               
 HB 447 - CAN'T CLOSE LAND TO TRADITIONAL REC. USES                           
                                                                              
 Number 882                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said three people on the teleconference network             
 wished to testify on House Bill 447.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 915                                                                    
                                                                               
 DICK BISHOP, Executive Director, Alaska Outdoor Council, testified            
 in support of HB 447 saying the council strongly advocates                    
 protection of public access for trails and traditional uses such as           
 hunting and fishing and other outdoor activities.  He said in some            
 cases state land can be put off limits administratively to those              
 kinds of access, we do not feel that is appropriate.  This bill               
 addresses that particular problem and it is important to ensure               
 that access to public land doesn't slip through the cracks.  He               
 urged the committee to pass the bill.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 991                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said the committee will schedule HB 447 for                 
 another hearing.                                                              
                                                                               
 He announced that HB 325, Heavy Oil, will be heard by the committee           
 on Wednesday, February 7.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1033                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES informed the chairman that he had prepared an           
 amendment to HB 325.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1050                                                                   
                                                                               
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 There being no further business to come before the House Resources            
 Committee, Chairman Green adjourned the meeting at 9:56 a.m.                  
                                                                               

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