Poor Alaskan moose hunters. Moose hunters are up in arms that there simply aren’t enough moose for them to go out and kill. In some parts of Alaska, aerial killing of wolves has been done in an effort to increase moose populations. For the first time, they’re considering killing wolves on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage.
The genesis of the move was a recent radio program where hunters called in and said they were “disgusted” with the low number of moose on the Kenai. Of course it’s the wolves that get the blame, not the hunters that are out popping off moose. They said there are about 90-130 wolves in the entire Kenai, and about 5,000 moose, a number of moose that is “below target”. MAYBE, just maybe, the reason that the number of moose is “below target” is that hunters have been allowed to kill more than the population can sustain. But like other examples I’ve given in the past (cormorants and Great Lakes fish populations; Seals and fish populations in the Northeast), it’s NEVER people that are considered the issue.
We’ve got our own local example of this kind of complete stupidity. Pheasant hunting is huge in South Dakota, drawing hunters from across the country. As I recently found out while staying at a lodge in the central part of the state, hunters even fly up from Mexico to hunt pheasants here. Just this Friday, I was driving in the central part of the state taking photos, and continually ran across commercial hunting operations that were ferrying around hunters in specially made buses, or vans with the roofs cut off so hunters can leap out and start blasting away when they see pheasants. Many of these large operations raise and release pheasants, birds that are about as “wild” as my cocker spaniel Cooper. I don’t even think you’d need a gun to hunt some of them…you might be able to just walk up to them and nicely ask them to jump in a bag, they’re so dumb and tame.
The reason I go birding in these areas is that there are often incredible numbers of raptors in winter that are attracted by all the pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse. Several years ago, a landowner who ran one of these operations was convicted of shooting raptors, including eagles, because they were eating “his” pheasants. I also have photos of this loser’s land, where he’s shot coyotes (again, for eating “his” pheasants), and duct-taped them, spread-eagled, on the telephone poles around his property. Just sick.
It’s REALLY hard for me to see the ‘hunter as conservationist’ image that many hunters try to portray, when what’s VERY obvious is that all the hunters care about is their own “pleasure” in having things to blast away at.