[UPDATE 2012: Here's the post on the 2012 Prop 2 to reestablish an Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program.]
I voted today because we're headed out of town on Sunday night. Before you go to vote, be sure you know how you want to vote on Prop. 2 - aerial hunting of wolves. I found the wording confusing.
This bill amends current law banning same-day airborne shooting to include grizzly bears. The bill permits the Board of Game to allow a predator program for wolves and grizzly bears if the Commissioner of Fish and Game finds an emergency, where wolves or grizzly bears in an area are causing a decline in prey. Only employees of the Department of Fish and Game could take part in the program. Only the minimum number of wolves or grizzly bears needed to stop the emergency could be removed.
I guess I thought that since the proponents of Prop 2 have been talking about how airborne hunting of wolves was such a terrible thing that they were proposing a law to ban that. I didn't realize we had a law that already bans it. That's what threw me off. We do. But there are exceptions for situations when the predators need to be culled so that the moose and caribou populations will be higher so that humans can hunt them, and, if there is disease. .
What this amendment appears to do is to more stringently define when the State could authorize airborne hunting and then when it does authorized it, only State Fish and Game employees can do the hunting. Also wolverines are also mentioned in the statutes.
You can go to the election page to get the wording of the ballots and to another page to read the voter pamphlet.
The ballot information, I'm afraid, is not particularly helpful. You'd think it would tell you the number of the current statute that will be replaced or amended by the proposition. And you'd be wrong. Or at least I couldn't find it. I had to go to the Alaska Statues and find it myself.
Here's the existing language that would be replaced - at least that's how I understand it.
Sec. 16.05.783. Same day airborne hunting.
(a) A person may not shoot or assist in shooting a free-ranging wolf or wolverine the same day that a person has been airborne. However, the Board of Game may authorize a predator control program as part of a game management plan that involves airborne or same day airborne shooting if the board has determined based on information provided by the department
(1) in regard to an identified big game prey population under AS 16.05.255(g) that objectives set by the board for the population have not been achieved and that predation is an important cause for the failure to achieve the objectives set by the board, and that a reduction of predation can reasonably be expected to aid in the achievement of the objectives; or
(2) that a disease or parasite of a predator population
(A) is threatening the normal biological condition of the predator population; or
(B) if left untreated, would spread to other populations.
(b) This section does not apply to
(1) a person who was airborne the same day if that person was airborne only on a regularly scheduled commercial flight; or
(2) an employee of the department who, as part of a game management program, is authorized to shoot or to assist in shooting wolf, wolverine, fox, or lynx on the same day that the employee has been airborne.
(c) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both. In addition, the court may order the aircraft and equipment used in or in aid of a violation of this section to be forfeited to the state.
(d) When the Board of Game authorizes a predator control program that includes airborne or same day airborne shooting, the board shall have the prerogative to establish predator reduction objectives and limits, methods and means to be employed, who is authorized to participate in the program, and the conditions for participation of individuals in the program.
(e) The use of state employees or state owned or chartered equipment, including helicopters, in a predator control program is prohibited without the approval of the commissioner.
(f) In this section,
(1) "free-ranging" means that the animal is wild and not caught in a trap or snare; and
(2) "game management program" means a program authorized by the Board of Game or the commissioner to achieve identified game management objectives in a designated geographic area.
Here's the language of the initiative:
FULL TEXT OF PROPOSED LAW
An Act Prohibiting the Shooting of Wolves & Grizzly Bears with the Use of Aircraft Be it enacted by the People of the State of Alaska that Section 1. A.S. 16.05.783 is amended to read: Section 16.05.783. (a) A person may not shoot or assist in shooting a free-ranging wolf, wolverine or grizzly bear the same day that the person has been airborne. However, the Board of Game may authorize a predator program involving the shooting of wolves or grizzly bears
Ballot Measure 2
Bill Amending Same Day Airborne Shooting from the air or on the same day that a person has been airborne if
(1) the Commissioner of Fish and Game makes written findings based on adequate data demonstrating that a biological emer- gency exists and that there is no feasible solution other than airborne control to eliminate the bioogical emergency;
(2) any shooting is conducted by Department of Fish and Game personnel only, and not by any permittee or agent;
(3) the program is limited to the specific geographical area where the biological emergency exists; and
(4) the program removes only the minimum number of wolves or grizzly bears necessary to eliminate the biological emergency.
(b) This section does not apply to a person who was airborne the same day if that person was airborne only on a regularly scheduled commercial flight.
(c) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both. In addition, the court may order the aircraft
and equipment used in or in aid of a violation of this section to be forfeited to the State.
(d) In this section,
(1) “free-ranging” means that the animal is wild and not caught in a trap or snare; and
(2) “biological emergency” means a condition where a wolf or grizzly bear population in a specific geographic area is depleting a prey population to a point that if not corrected will cause an irreversible decline in the prey population such that it is not likely to recover without implementing wolf or grizzly bear control.
By the way, while I was in the Statues, I came across this law of elephant permits. Just in case you were thinking of bringing back an elephant from your next trip:
Sec. 16.40.060. Elephant permit.
The commissioner may issue a permit, subject to reasonable conditions established by the commissioner, to possess, import, or export an elephant. A permit may be issued only to a person who proves to the satisfaction of the commissioner that the person
(1) intends to exhibit the animal commercially;
(2) possesses facilities to maintain the animal under positive control and humane conditions; and
(3) maintains personal injury and property damage insurance in an amount established by the commissioner.