Time to end the era of aerial gunning of grizzlies, other wildlife

By on February 9, 2017 with 21 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

One of the most despicable acts against animals in contemporary times is the aerial gunning of wildlife – chasing down these animals in aircraft and then strafing them with bullets, mainly as a way to wipe out local populations and artificially boost populations of moose and caribou for hunters to shoot at a later time. It’s not only a scrambling of intact ecological systems, but it is barbaric, and it’s been sanctioned by some Alaska politicians and their appointees at the Board of Game in Alaska for years, even though voters in the state time and time again have tried to ban it by ballot initiative.

In 2015 and 2016, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said “not on our lands,” and adopted rules to forbid aerial scouting, landing, and then shooting of grizzly bears; killing of hibernating black bear mothers with cubs; and denning of predators on national preserves and national wildlife refuges. It was a long overdue pair of policies, and broadly supported by so many Alaskans and by people throughout the nation.

Now these rules are facing a double-barreled attack – in the federal courts and in Congress.

The HSUS joined several national and local conservation groups this week to challenge an attempt by trophy hunting interests to reopen some of the cruelest hunting practices on federal lands in Alaska. Lawsuits filed last month by the state of Alaska and Safari Club International seek to nix the regulations. And next week, in the U.S. House of Representatives, Alaska’s sole Congressman, Don Young, will offer a resolution to strike the rule, under a law known as the Congressional Review Act. The CRA allows Congress, by simple majorities in the House and Senate and with the signature of the president, to strike any recent rule of the prior administration in the first few months of a new Congress.

These are our federal lands, and the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are the primary managers. Those attacking these rules are attacking the professional wildlife managers who developed these policies on the ground in Alaska. At field hearings conducted in the run-up to the final rulemaking actions, significant numbers of Alaskans testified in favor of adopting the rules. It’s false framing for Rep. Young and anyone else to say Alaskans oppose these rules and support these unsporting and barbaric practices. In fact, voters have put the issues of aerial gunning of wolves on the ballot three times, and passed two of the measures (still lawmakers, violating the wishes of their own constituents, overturned those laws).

Congress created national wildlife refuges and national preserves so people can enjoy these magical places, but also to allow wildlife to thrive. We now know too much about wolves and grizzly bears to treat them like a curse and to try to decimate them. They play an essential role in balancing ecosystems, and have a cascade effect to benefit species up and down the food chain and even to help forest and stream health. It also is a proven truth that wolves and grizzly bears are the biggest draws for tourists who trek to Alaska and spend over $2 billion annually to see these creatures in their native habitats. Wildlife-based tourism creates thousands of jobs and commerce for Alaska – particularly for rural gateway communities. The FWS has reported that, in Alaska, wildlife watchers number 640,000 compared to 125,000 hunters and spend five times more ($2 billion) than hunters ($425 million) for wildlife recreational opportunities.

The state officials who brought these lawsuits, and the federal lawmakers from Alaska who are pushing their resolutions to repeal these new federal rules, are working against the economic interests of their state in advocating for more killing and maiming of wolves and grizzly bears. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service were right to draw a line and say these activities cannot occur on federal lands set aside for wildlife. Wolves and bears are the best ambassadors for these land holdings, and no one has to pay them a dime or provide an ounce of food or a drop of water. They just need to be left alone.

But those rules are in jeopardy unless you act. Contact your federal lawmakers and urge opposition to the Young CRA joint resolution (H.J. Res. 69) and a similar effort in the Senate, advanced by Alaska Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski (S.J. Res. 18).

It’s time to raise your voice if we want to ground the aerial gunships revving up to kill wildlife on some of America’s most extraordinary wild lands and ecosystems.

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

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  1. Mary Vaughan says:

    Stop this killing

  2. Alison macpherson says:

    Petition please

  3. Laura Rose-Fortmueller says:

    Please stop killing wolves. They play an important role in our ecosystem. Cicle of life is important

  4. jon jovi says:

    This is the 21st century, wake up!

  5. Tom Georgiadis says:

    Hunting for sport needs to be abolished
    If you have to kill an unarmed innocent animal to make yourself feel powerful you should maybe go get a testosterone shot instead.
    I understand for peoples living off grid and off the land that’s their life
    People that think it’s their right to buy a ticket and blast apart an animal trying only to survive
    What about the right of that innocent animal to live?

  6. Terri Minnick says:

    I was hoping Donald Trump would see this as a terrible waste of money ( not too mention life ) and therefore not good ‘business’ . ?

  7. gerriebe says:

    to the killers..stop being idiots. the world needs it’s animals in order for nature to take it’s course. you are putting the balance out of wack..smarten up!

  8. Robert Goldman says:

    Thank you, Wayne. Such evil behavior that should never have been allowed ever. Such evil people that keep coming back like a cancer. Shared with many, appealing for ACTION for wolves and bears from everyone.

  9. Tracy Johnson says:

    I do not understand why the US Governing bodies wish to wipe out species of predators. these animals were put on this earth to pick off the sick and dying animals from their respected herds. The natural ecosystems are very delicate, it only takes wiping these animals out to upset the whole apple cart some never to recover in our life time. I have watched and read so many books on this delicate balance. There was one story a documentary on wolves from another area in the USA that were killed off in the wild that everything in that area including the rivers changes and not for a good reason. On reintroducing the predator that was killed off it took years for those animals and the ecosystem to recover from this. The river changes direction again to the way it was before the animals were killed off. I think all the people who want to Nix this act should be held up and prison sentencing issued to all who goes against this act. It is a mater of survival. these animals are hunted down in packs then they are riddled with bullets. I am totally ashamed to be part of the human race. This sort of issue should not be an issue but there are some unscrupulous people on this earth that get a kick out of killing animals for sport. This kind of thing should be Nixed. Let mother nature take care of her animals she had it right centuries before we humans were put on this God forsaking planet. I am tired of hearing how people are trying to nix this act or policy or that policy and act in favour of killing an animal, because they need the land or because they are killing their lives stock or the culling, yeah, that one is a doozy, Government sanctioned culling. never quite got my head around that one. It cost you more money to round the animals up in the cruelest way possible, then pen them up and have in experienced persons possible to keep the horses or other animals fed and watered that is the ones that don’t die of fright and/or exasperation after being chased for miles, wolves do not see or even know what it is that is chasing them you use planes helicopters to chase these creatures down its like introducing a dinosaur onto the general public. bad choice of words but the point is the same. We have killed enough of mother natures creature to survive to the point of extinction in some cases. then you fill their bodies full of lead The majority of Gun owners are responsible but the kind of people we are talking about are not. They just want to kill. Maybe they have faulty wiring like some prisoners who are in prison for killing things too. I do not see the difference. some thing has to die. Please enforce this act to its fullest extent of the law before these animals are extinct. Take a look around you everyone. the people in rural areas only shoot animals who are on their lands this is exceptable only if the family is in danger in my opinion. Cows can be replaced that much is true to replace a cow here or a cow there shouldn’t break the bank, if they are wiping out half a herd, then by all means something has to be done. To track an animal on foot to put tracking devices on them to see where the animals are going or where they have been is also acceptable but to track an animal down and kill them in a hail of bullets is so not fair nor is it Humane.

    • Isabel Cohen, Artist/Activist says:

      Today and perhaps for the past 10 or more years, not sure just how long, the gov’t has decided to appease the farmers and ranchers to the point of complete and utter insanity. Ever hear of Wildlife Services? They operate secretly under the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Perhaps you have heard of them, but I doubt it. No, I am not referring to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service but they are bad enough. Wildlife Services murders millions of birds and animals every year. According to an editorial in The NYTimes, last Fall, they shot, poisoned, and otherwise killed over 760,000 red-winged blackbirds.”Before killing them, did anyone weigh the damage they do to ripening corn and other crops against the benefit they provide by feeding on corn earworms and other harmful insects? Is the scientific support for killing 20,777 prairie dogs (on which the survival of species like the burrowing owl and the black-footed ferret depend), better than that for killing predators?” I would take up arms over something this heinous if I had any. It’s outrageous, atrocious and unconscionable that this agency murders millions of wildlife, from birds to wild animals, every single year! This must stop soon! Fish and Wildlife does enough damage without a clandestine operation like Wildlife Services in the game!

  10. Barbara Michniewicz says:

    Hands off our wildlife. These lands were created for their protection. They also have a right to life.

  11. gregory cleary says:

    I just don’t get it. Why so many people have to kill such animals. Alaska has for a long time has been killing wolves and other wild life for years, its in all the politicians who have people in there back pockets for money. The politicians don’t listen to the people in their state. Once there gone there gone. Some people just don’t care.

  12. Yvonne Higgins Leach says:

    Aerial gunning of wildlife – chasing down bears and wolves in aircraft and then strafing them with bullets, is not only messing with intact ecological systems, but it is barbaric! The fact that the state of Alaska is trying next week to reopen the rules against this is beyond my comprehension. I am not against hunting at all, but this isn’t hunting. This is man using machines unfairly against nature.

  13. Denni A says:

    GET OUT AND VOTE!!!….2018 is just around the corner. 2020 will be here in no time. complaining, marches and protests only do so much.

  14. Annoula Wylderich says:

    It disgusts me to know that some still consider hunting to be a “recreational sport.” There are far more individuals who would rather shoot animals with a camera than a weapon and who do not extract enjoyment by the suffering of a vulnerable being. Most of us agree that we don’t need to adorn our walls and floors with symbols of suffering; and while the majority of wildlife commissions seem to favor sportsmen, it is elected officials who appoint and oversee them and we need to remind those individuals that we VOTE and expect to be heard.

  15. Jack says:

    Hunters are nothing more, than cowards. If they were really brave, then they would hunt me. I would love to hunt the cowardly hunters.

  16. Sterling & Susan Richards says:

    To kill animals God put on Earth is in fact a sin against our God. If an apex predator is not of danger to you and pets, they do not deserve to be killed. This trophy hunting should be banned, along with any form of trapping. Earth needs the ESA to stay in place. We need our predators to keep a healthy balance in nature. The thought of a human laughing with delight because they killed a Wolf or Grizzly or any other wild animal, leaves me cold because it shows how humans have changed. There is no compassion or concern for our planet. Please keep the ESA alive and stop aerial shooting, ground shooting, and trapping for good. Soon we will have no wildlife left for future generations.

  17. Fran Leard says:

    This is so outrageous and needs to be stopped now. This is not a hunt but a bunch of sick cowards who murder innocent wildlife.

    Leave our wildlife alone so we all can get a chance to see them up close in their protective environment.

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