U.S. House sanctions killing hibernating bears, wolf pups in their dens on federal refuges in Alaska

By on February 16, 2017 with 84 Comments

What the U.S. House of Representatives did today – actually a very narrow majority of the House – was shameful. Cruel. Callous. Venal.

The vote in favor of H.J. Resolution 69, authored by Alaska’s Rep. Don Young, was 225 to 193. Those 225 members voted to overturn a federal rule – years in the works, and crafted by professional wildlife managers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – to stop some of the most appalling practices ever imagined in the contemporary era of wildlife management. Denning of wolf pups, killing hibernating bears, spotting grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and trapping grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares. The stuff of wildlife snuff films.

And not just on any land. On our country’s national wildlife refuges. More specifically, on 16 national wildlife refuges covering 76 million acres, all in the state of Alaska.

Republican lawmakers did this for the NRA, the Safari Club, and some hunting guides and outfitters. There were 10 Republicans who voted against the majority position – Reps. Dan Donovan and Peter King of New York, Frank LoBiondo, Tom MacArthur, and Chris Smith of New Jersey, Martha McSally of Arizona, Dave Reichert of Washington, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Fred Upton of Michigan. We thank them for their compassion and courage. There were five Democrats who voted with the Republican majority – Reps. Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela of Texas, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota — even as a parade of Democratic lawmakers called out the cruelty and said the behavior in question was unconscionable and unthinkable.

Some members favoring the Young resolution cloaked their vote behind the mantle of states’ rights. But the states don’t have a right to dictate what happens on our national wildlife refuges. What’s the point of having a national wildlife refuge if the federal professional wildlife staff there automatically default to the management authority of the state? Congresswoman Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts, whose late husband, Sen. Paul Tsongas, helped write the Alaska National Interests Land Conservation Act (to create a good share of these refuges), specifically stated that Congress never intended to cede complete wildlife management authority to the states. In this case, Alaska has a bloodthirsty Board of Game, whose members enthusiastically implement a draconian policy called “Intensive Management.” That policy dictates that state managers drive down wolf, bear, and coyote numbers to boost caribou and moose numbers for hunters — turning Alaska’s wildlife refuges into what retired Arctic National Wildlife biologist Fran Mauer calls “game farms” — the very thing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted to stop through a rigorous, science-based, and legal federal rulemaking process that was overturned by today’s vote.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shouldn’t run refuges like game farms, as Alaskan officials want to do. If Congressman Young – who conceded on the House floor today that he personally killed wolves in their dens for federal pay years ago – thinks he can prevail in court, then he can have at it. But don’t come to the floor with a half-baked , ahistorical theory that is very unlikely to withstand scrutiny in our federal courts.

In addition to making a phony states’ rights argument, Young and his allies argued that denning and land-and-shoot hunting don’t occur. If that’s true, why were they concerned about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule? If it was only cosmetic, do they want to take up the finite time the U.S. Congress has to try to make rhetorical points?

These practices do occur, especially trapping of bears and land-and-shoot killing. Alaska has permitted slaughtering wolves and bears by inhumane means for more than two decades, since the end of the term of humane-minded Gov. Tony Knowles, who won two terms in the state even as an outspoken advocate for ending aerial gunning, land-and-shoot hunting, and other despicable practices. In the post-Knowles era, politicians there have called for wiping out entire packs of wolves around Denali National Park and now the Alaska Board of Game is working to cleanse the Kenai Peninsula of wolves too.

I offer my sincerest thanks to so many lawmakers who stood up to this cruelty – practices that are to wildlife management what cockfighting and dogfighting are to the management of domesticated animals.

Only the U.S. Senate and President Trump can now stop this unwinding of a decision by a professional wildlife management agency. Please contact your U.S. Senators and tell them to steer clear of a disgraceful resolution, and to honor limits in the conduct of wildlife policy in the United States of America.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Terry Niederman says:

    This is horrible. No one NEEDS to kill innocent animals for fun.

  2. Juanita Moore says:

    This is cruel and very unjust to the beautiful creatures with which we share this earth! Stop these inhumane practices!

  3. Keith Pension says:

    I’m for a very thorough House cleaning, and I don’t feel like waiting till spring!

  4. Lucinda Wright says:

    This is absolutely unacceptable. Please oppose the bill in the Senate.

  5. Lucinda Wright says:

    This is absolutely unacceptable. Completely immoral and not at all sporting. I can’t imagine ethical hunters supporting this practice.

  6. lhoogland says:

    It’s time to kick ass and take names….the entire Congress comes up for re-election in two years…make these mothers pay with your votes!!!!

  7. Darcy mitchell says:

    It makes no sense and is VI’s ilia and cruel. What is the point of killing the bear and wolves while hibernating? That’s not a sport! Disgusting!!! This is a wildlife reserve!!!! That used to mean something

  8. Penelope J Melko says:

    I will help to petition that the men and women who voted in favor of the bill be solely responsible to do the dirty work themselves

  9. laura azar says:

    This is horrific. What can we do? Is there anyway to stop this barbarism? 💔

  10. Lorinda Klein says:

    This is appalling and should be stopped!

  11. Mikki Ostertag says:

    OMG!! I’m so sick. How can you treat animals like trash? They need you. Please step up and stop this now.
    I voted republican and now I’m sorry I did. I wanted many things to change but why in the hell are you doing this? Please please change your minds.

  12. Asbabot says:

    Barbaric, immoral, criminality. They must be stopped.

  13. Arlene Cirocco says:

    Stop the killings of our wildlife!….We must protect our beautiful wildlife.

  14. Burnice E Charles says:

    I think they shouldn’t kill the wild animals leave them in their homes let them live

  15. Pamela Nichols says:

    This law that was passed- to kill hibernating bears, wolf pups in their dens, unconscionable… and on protected land… what are you people thinking? You are upsetting the natural balance in nature! Soon man will be on the endangered species list… absolute idiots. Repeal this immediately… Cruel, in humane, unconscionable, a disgrace. You representatives should be fired…

    Pamela Nichols

  16. Wes Cole says:

    Please leave the Bears and Wolf Pups alone. Please don’t kill Them. This is cruel and unnecessary. Thanks for leaving the Bears and Wolf Pups be.

  17. christine beaudry says:

    This adds up to murder….just horrible and not needed…….It is our wild lands and we do not want it to happen

  18. Lea Derence says:

    Do unto others as you would have done unto you. And, animals do qualify as others.

    It is immoral and unjust to kill animals. I am going to do whatever I can to get people to go vegan and hopefully soon killing animals for any reason will be a crime – it IS certainly a crime against God. THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

  19. Raina greening says:

    This makes me sick! This is wrong on so many levels. Let me sneak into your house and shoot you whil you sleep…. ugh I don’t understand the lack of heart people have… so sad what is happening to this country on so many levels. I am embarrassed , we are the wealthiest counry butt also the least enviromently friendly, worst health care, not to mention homeless populations… sickening stop with the killing….

  20. Joy says:

    Who on earth with any kind heart or feeling sanctions this kind of killing hibinating bears n baby wolves . Do
    They want nothing left want sad world it is when have people like this

  21. Beth Wells says:

    National parks and wildlife above the NRA!

  22. Frances Orr says:

    The following Democratic House Members Reps. Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela of Texas, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.
    I want an explanation of your thinking on this!

  23. Terri Boerwinkle says:

    Vote NO on H R 69. The changes are inhumane.

  24. Tina says:

    Please do not vote against wolves they are family and are dedicated to their mate.

  25. Kevin says:

    This is inhumane.

  26. JANEL B COHEN says:

    This is horrific, we cannot allow this to happen.

  27. Tricia Chesnowitz says:

    I’m a republican and this is OUTRAGEOUS!!! What is wrong with you people? I don’t care if you call yourselves hunters or what. You are monsters if you stoop to this level to murder animals. And that is what this is, murder. Going into a den and killing babies ? Going in where animals are hibernating ? Who is the animal ? YOU are !

  28. Reva Monk says:

    Seriously you have no clue on what you are trying to do! It is a horrendous not to mention seriously in human! It is appalling to think that, These animals don’t belong here , that we do! I am ashamed to be considered a human!!🤢😭

  29. D Glo says:

    This is horrific.

  30. Nandia Black says:

    The House just sold our cherished wildlife down the river in a back alley deal to appease Safari Club members and elk hunters. This is a travesty which the American people must not condone. Aerial hunting and steel-jawed leg hold traps are inhumane and morally wrong. Entering dens to shoot baby wolf pups and hibernating bears is unconscionable. Such practices have for many years been banned because they are extreme and barbaric. We must not allow politicians that are morally corrupt to erode the sanctity of our National Wildlife Refuges. We must oppose H.J. Resolution 69!

  31. Angie says:

    The measure of a man is how he treats the smallest of creatures!!!

  32. Sonali Gaba says:

    Stop this please

  33. Carol Ross says:

    There is a reason a group of baboons is called a “Congress”!

  34. Carol Ross says:

    There is a reason why a group of baboons is called a “Congress”!

  35. Ken Blacketer says:

    Thank you for this information and the great work you do.

  36. JI says:

    This is horrible needs this can not be allowed!

  37. Sharon greco says:


  38. Wallace Havens says:

    Did you ever see a wolf tearing apart a baby elk or moose. They should kill all the wolves. Keep a few in the zoo and thats it.

  39. Suzy Yong says:

    MF! CRUEL BASTARDS! Their lives matter

  40. Jo Pendlebury says:

    Stop all hunting especially this cowardly new proposal of allowing hibernating bears and babies in nests…DISGUSTING!

  41. Laura van Rooyen says:

    Please help to stop killing and poaching of animals, its just cruel.

  42. Cindy says:

    Leave Wildlife Alone!
    We’re Supposed to Watch over them.
    Not harm them!

  43. Michal Morse says:

    What an appalling Victorian attitude to wild life, how can Americans be so cruel.

  44. Smet Closset viviane says:

    It’s à SHAME ,It’s pity ,cruelty just for money SHAME ON YOU !!!

    • Smet Closset viviane says:

      I can’t understand ,It’ cruel …why ? Only for money ? Kill wildlife …I’m so sad ,please stop this cruelty

  45. Wendy averett says:

    WhAt makes humans believe they have the right to destroy everything in their path?? Unacceptable!!!

  46. Denise Goodnow says:

    Ecclesiastes 3 19.

  47. Karen Benton -rose says:

    A time will come when all countries will be judged on how they protected all their animals from suffering cruelty neglect and extinction

  48. tanya smith says:


  49. Ann Ainsworth says:

    This is so wrong killing animals in their habitats. Let nature take care of itself.

  50. Evelyn olivos says:

    Im against hunting. It satisfies a dark side of people.

  51. Karen phelps says:

    Please don’t pass HJ res 69 have u lost your minds pure cruel slaughter of wildlife you are insane

  52. Jo says:

    What the Hell…. Why are people so cruel…. Animals are not property stop treating them like they are…. Do not support this law

  53. Cindy says:

    Why??? Are we being overrun with these animals? I feel the NRA has definitely overstepped their boundaries here. Don’t understand how people get enjoyment out of shooting animals, especially young ones! I think the second amendment needs to be rewritten.

  54. Pat Bouziden says:

    Please protect our wildlife. This is heartless killing serving no purpose for wildlife preservation.

  55. Kim davidson says:

    Cowardly cruel stop stop stop.
    Please do not kill inoscent animals
    In there beds with their babies!!!
    Stop stop stop 😪

  56. Katie says:

    What right do you have to wipe out entire packs fir doing nothing but trying to survive in their own habitat? They were here first and all we do it push them out of their homes, abuse them, eat their food so they have look in other places, and then we kill them for it. Or any chance we can really. How do you not see how wrong that is?

  57. Marie Colon says:

    Who are to kill off a species! Let the animals be!! You are not God!

  58. Ashleigh says:

    This has to stop it is barbaric and we are going to make these beautiful creatures extinct l! It is wrong and inhumane on every level! This is not culling but a torturous, evil horrific practice! This bill can not be passed! These animals are harmless and again ignorance humans have to interfere with the beautiful creatures we have on our planet! It is wrong and cannot be passed!!!

  59. Brianna Zaffino says:

    This is absolutely disgusting. You people should be ASHAMED. when will you put stupid money aside and understand when we kill nature we kill ourselves. I am so embarrassed of this country.

  60. Jennifer berry says:

    This is cruel and inhuman ! Dont do it

  61. Sonny R. says:

    This is absolutely horrible! Please use common sense! Bad things happen when humans intervene.

  62. Judy Ramirez says:

    How arful do we have to get before someone realizes that this is ALL WRONG…STOP THE KILLING !!!!!!!!

  63. Steve Yakoban says:

    True insanity for greed and self-indulgence. The real problem is that under trump, this is just the beginning – really.

  64. Linda J Comparillo says:

    I didn’t think my opinion of Republicans, especially those in Congress, could get any lower, but now it has. What is wrong with these people? Do they want an Earth devoid of any live but themselves? What kind of a world will children grow up in when all they can look at is pictures of everything we have killed. We should be stewards of the Earth, not destroyers.

  65. Gretchen Mayer says:

    Sinful and I’m ashamed of our country!

  66. Michelle Fitzgerald says:

    Why would you want to be known for such awful and inhumane practice’s? Isn’t that what Alaska is all about,The amazing wildlife? Please don’t adopt such deplorable practices, continue to let the majestic creatures that so many come to your state to see continue to live. It’s what makes Alaska, Alaska.

  67. Annie Vincent says:

    To The US House of Representatives.

    It is not humane humanity that you are interested in, well obviously most of you who voted for the return of hunting, or rather the ‘blood sport’ of killing innocent vulnerable animals by heartless, gutless, lowlife human cowards. So what does that say about you who voted for this unconscionable decision.
    You are bought, by your vested interests which seems to be the way of things done in the US. Damn those of you and may karma take care of you.

  68. Donna Phelps says:

    This is so wrong and

  69. Jimette J Dragani says:

    This practice of slaughtering animals must be stopped, what have we become.

  70. Elizabeth Mori says:


  71. JoAnn Azzara says:

    This is appalling!!! 😡

  72. Athena Dontas says:

    That’s just appalling and disgusting!! Cowards!!!!!!

  73. John L. White says:

    This is another ploy by the NRA and the Safari Club and contract hunting parties to pad their pocketbooks at the expense of mother natures plan of natural survival. This cannot be allowed to go forward.
    Go back to your desk and work on the correction to the National Health Crisis and leave the animals alone. I am personally compiling the list of all Congressmen and their voting position on this issue. It will be posted on as many social media sites that I can manage.

  74. Karen Hamlin says:

    Disgusting and Stupidity. Breaking the chain of life will come back to haunt us all.

  75. Wolf pup says:

    Let’s set those traps right beside the doors of their bathroom

  76. lance freedlund says:

    Is this the will of the people? Of course not…the majority of people would not agree to this. The politicians who voted ‘yes’ are NOT doing their jobs.

  77. Julie Serenson says:

    Stop this cruelty of killing off innocent creatures. ..eliminating nature is cheating our children and grandchildren of witnessing the beauty of this country…..lets preserve it for future generations. ..let ou r children and grandchildren witness nature fro themselves instead of reading abut it in the books

  78. Peggy Laplante says:

    Absolutely NOT an option!!! NATIONAL wildlife refuges are NOT to be governed by money hungry, over indebted states & lawmakers that have been BOUGHT!!!! reverse!! Reverse!!! REVERSE!!!!!! YOU IDIOTS!!!!! Come ON!!! stupid stupid humans……

  79. Julie Serenson says:

    Stop this cruelty of killing off innocent creatures. ..eliminating nature is cheating our children and grandchildren of witnessing the beauty of this country…..lets preserve it for future generations. ..let our children and grandchildren witness nature for themselves instead of reading about it in the books

  80. Lynn Snyder says:

    Please stop this senseless killing! They have as much right to life as we do!

  81. Bonnie Toadvyn says:

    This is the ulimate in cruelty…not sportsmanship. or hunting…just mindless slaughter. How could anyone vote for cruelty and slaughter…this is 2017!

  82. Rita-Eileen Glynn Smith says:

    Where is the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus on this? Started in 2009 – what exactly is the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus’ purpose if not to prevent this type of atrocity? Who is our animal advocate in Congress.

  83. J. Ford says:

    Stop needless slaughter now!

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