|Teddy Roosevelt was a hunter. He helped found the Boone and Crockett hunting club in 1887; its purpose was to promote “fair chase” and to prevent wildlife decimation from overhunting.
Fair chase is hunting that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over the hunted, requires a quick kill and requires hunters to “behave in a way that will bring no dishonor to either the hunter, the hunted or the environment.”
Congressman Knight abandoned this doctrine in voting Sept. 7 to convert our Federal Alaskan Wildlife Refuges into game farms for moneyed trophy hunters. Now they can target shoot animals at “bait stations” and steel-jaw traps, gas or set fire to wolf pups in their dens (“denning”), pull hibernating bears and their cubs out of their dens using artificial lights (“spotlighting”), and shoot them from helicopters.
Last year the entire Lost Creek wolf pack, some with radio collars, was shot from a helicopter, wiping out 20 years of ecological study.
The National Park Service chief for Yukon-Charley Rivers explained that the U.S. system of federal refuge’s prime directive is to “let the natural balance and fluctuation of species happen.”
Decimating bears and wolves to inflate the caribou and deer population for a select group of hunters is out of sync with our national directive to restore the biological integrity of species living in our federal refuges and wetlands that already offer hundreds of hunting and fishing programs.
What reason did Congressman Knight have for prioritizing the elite few? The majority of Alaskans opposed this bill, and wildlife-watchers spend much more money than safari groups.
Perhaps wildlife-watchers are more interested in local economies than in funding politicians. This has already happened in Alaska and will spread.
Just read the SHARE Act. Tell Congressman Knight what you think: (661) 255-5630.