Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/27/1995 03:40 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SRES - 3/27/95                                                                
             SB  81 CLASSIFYING WOLF AS PREDATOR                             
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brought up SB 81 as the next order of business                 
 before the Senate Resources Committee.  The chairman asked for a              
 report from the subcommittee on SB 81.                                        
 SENATOR HALFORD stated that the subcommittee tried to formulate a             
 committee substitute which would satisfy the objections raised to             
 the original bill.  The original premise was to specify a $400                
 state-wide bounty, and that a wolf could be taken anywhere, anyhow,           
 anyway.  Under SB 81, wolves would be unclassified game, a                    
 furbearer, and could be taken by any method or means approved for             
 taking unclassified game or furbearers.  The bounty was reduced to            
 $200, and would only apply in areas designated by the board of                
 game.  The wolf also must be presented for identification to an               
 office designated by the commissioner.  The intent is that not                
 every office of the Department of Fish & Game be used for sealing             
 of wolves taken under the bounty.  Senator Halford thinks those               
 points will satisfy some of the objections to SB 81, although he              
 realizes they will not satisfy the objections of those who are                
 universally opposed to any kind of incentive for predator harvest.            
 SENATOR TAYLOR expressed appreciation to Senator Halford for the              
 work done on SB 81.  Senator Taylor supports a harvest incentive              
 program, and thinks $200 plus the value of the hide is a more                 
 reasonable amount to pay for bounty than that which was originally            
 proposed in the bill.  He asked Senator Halford to further define             
 the methods or means by which wolves could be taken.                          
 SENATOR HALFORD responded that there is a prohibition on taking               
 furbearers with a shotgun, because of the damage done to the hide.            
 Furbearers can be taken with a rifle or with a trap.                          
 SENATOR TAYLOR commented an effective way to control wolves is the            
 use of shotguns and aerial hunting.                                           
 SENATOR HALFORD replied that aerial hunting has always been done by           
 permit.  SB 81 regards the general classification of wolves and               
 instituting a bounty system.                                                  
 SENATOR TAYLOR noted SB 81 will still leave that up to the                    
 discretion of the board.  He does not know that public attitude has           
 a thing to do with good or bad game management.  He thinks it has             
 a lot to do with public attitude.                                             
 SENATOR HALFORD responded he can't fix that; he was just working              
 with the bill Senator Taylor introduced.                                      
 [There is discussion that perhaps an "a" should be deleted from               
 page 1, line 3.  Committee staff was instructed to correct the                
 inconsistency between drafts.]                                                
 Number 319                                                                    
 SENATOR HALFORD made a motion to adopt the committee substitute.              
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, stated the committee                    
 substitute had been adopted.                                                  
 SENATOR LINCOLN asked for clarification regarding the department's            
 position on the committee substitute.  She also asked if the                  
 committee substitute would have an impact on the fiscal note.                 
 Number 325                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN clarified that on page 1, line 3 the "a" just before           
 "wolf" will be deleted, so the title will read, "...incentive on              
 wolf taken in areas...."   On page 2, line 3 after the word                   
 "department" the language, "designated by the commissioner" will be           
 Number 336                                                                    
 STEVE PETERSON, Acting Deputy Director, Division of Wildlife                  
 Conservation, Department of Fish & Game, repeated some of the                 
 testimony given by Mr. Regelin at an earlier date.  The division's            
 position remains essentially the same as it was for the original              
 bill: the division is opposed to SB 81.                                       
 Number 365                                                                    
 SENATOR LINCOLN asked Mr. Peterson if the committee substitute                
 would affect the fiscal note from the division.                               
 MR. PETERSON responded, as far as he knows, the committee                     
 substitute will not affect the fiscal note.                                   
 SENATOR HALFORD commented that the bounty is cut in half.                     
 MR. PETERSON said that is true, but he does not think that will               
 change the number of wolves taken.                                            
 SENATOR LINCOLN asked Mr. Peterson what the department is proposing           
 for wolf control, other than having a bounty.  She has not heard              
 any other alternatives offered by the department.                             
 Number 386                                                                    
 MR. PETERSON thinks the department could work with the Board of               
 Game, if the board set up some intensive management areas.  Mr.               
 Peterson thinks it would be good for the department to be given               
 clear statutory authority that specifies if the board sets up                 
 intensive management areas, the department could permit for those             
 SENATOR HALFORD expressed concern that SB 81 might pass with a                
 $20,000 fiscal note, or it might pass without a fiscal note.  He              
 thinks the committee substitute would add to the board's ability,             
 without mandating anything.                                                   
 MR. PETERSON replied he just can't anticipate how the board will              
 react to SB 81.                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD stated that forcing the board to use a tool is like           
 pushing on a rope, but giving them the tool would at least give the           
 board the opportunity to consider intensive game management.                  
 MR. PETERSON agreed with Senator Halford.                                     
 Number 428                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Peterson if he is wrong to conclude that             
 the board and the department have both abandoned any wolf or                  
 predator control.                                                             
 MR. PETERSON thinks the truth of that statement depends on how one            
 defines predator control: trappers can be very effective in certain           
 areas.  But there is no doubt that the public is very concerned               
 about control programs.                                                       
 SENATOR TAYLOR thinks the people of the state have a right to know            
 what the department intends to do.  He asked Mr. Peterson to                  
 confirm that the department's attitude is to not do anything,                 
 unless the public approves.                                                   
 MR. PETERSON responded that the commissioner has stated he wants a            
 program that is broadly accepted by the public.                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Peterson what the commissioner is                    
 suggesting to the legislature.  Senator Taylor asserted that the              
 department is not responding to the legislature's attempt to work             
 on the issue.                                                                 
 MR. PETERSON replied there are people on both sides of the fence,             
 and the department tries to balance that.                                     
 Number 435                                                                    
 MARK LUTTRELL, President, Eastern Kenai Peninsula Environmental               
 Action Alliance, testifying from Seward, does not think the changes           
 are substantial, and thinks changing "bounty" to "harvest                     
 incentive" is insulting.  Mr. Luttrell asked the committee to                 
 consult more with the commissioner of the Department of Fish &                
 Number 457                                                                    
 MIKE TETREAU, testifying from Seward, thinks any type of a bounty             
 or harvest incentive would be medieval game management, at best.              
 Mr. Tetreau asserted that predator control is an outdated and                 
 unscientific management technique that is doomed to fail, as has              
 been shown through past experience.  He thinks SB 81 reflects a               
 very simplistic view of the natural environment.                              
 Number 469                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Tetreau if he has any proposal for                   
 management of predators.                                                      
 MR. TETREAU responded that the whole idea of limiting the number of           
 predators, simply to increase the number of prey available to                 
 hunters is debatable in and of itself.  He suggested SB 81 may                
 simply be a ploy to take some of the heat off trappers.  If                   
 predators have to be managed, then a controlled method, such as a             
 trapping program would certainly be preferable to a wide-open                 
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Tetreau if he would support a trapping               
 program, as opposed to SB 81.                                                 
 MR. TETREAU replied he would support trapping over a bounty                   
 program, but he does not feel that trapping is necessary either,              
 for this particular problem.                                                  
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Tetreau if he is an employee of the state            
 and would benefit through his wages from involvement in a trapping            
 MR. TETREAU said he would not benefit from a trapping program.  He            
 repeated that he does not see a need for wolf control, but that he            
 would support trapping over an open public bounty.                            
 Number 490                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR made a motion to discharge SB 81 from the Senate               
 Resources Committee with individual recommendations.                          
 SENATOR HALFORD asked the department to submit a new fiscal note.             
 SENATOR TAYLOR added there should be mandatory sex education for              
 wolves.  We would probably be as successful as we've been with                
 teenagers.  He also suggested using parvo virus.                              
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, stated SB 81 was discharged             
 from the Senate Resources Committee with individual                           

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