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Stop Alaska's officials from expanding aerial shooting of bears

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In a new package of policies criticized even by some hunters, the Alaska Board of Game on Tuesday opened the door to aerial gunning of bears by state wildlife officials. It also debated a measure that would allow more widespread snaring of bears -- including grizzlies, which are officially considered threatened across most of the U.S.
The controversial "intensive management" moves are the latest in a series of increasingly aggressive control methods targeting bears and wolves in Alaska. In some areas, wolf pups can be gassed in their dens, bear cubs and sows can be hunted, and wolves shot from helicopters.

The board deferred until March the decision on whether to permit baiting and snaring of black bears and grizzlies in additional areas, a practice utilized for the last four years in a pilot project in central Alaska.

But it removed the historical blanket prohibition against aerial hunting of bears and specifically authorized state game agents to begin helicopter and fixed-wing hunting of bears along the Dalton Highway corridor in the high Arctic, where a precarious population of musk oxen has been threatened by predators.

"That potentially does open up that [aerial] method for other places as well -- to take bears with aerial shooting and land-and-shoot," David James, Region 3 supervisor for the state Department of Fish and Game's Division of Wildlife Conservation, said in an interview. "It would no longer be illegal to do that anywhere else in the state."


{from the L.A Times}

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