(This is an after the fact blog. I wish I had known about it earlier)
The GOP-dominated U.S. Government has just made it legal to allow hunters on federal wildlife refuges in Alaska to enter the winter dens of hibernating bears and wolves and shoot them at point blank range. It also allows the killing of young cubs and pups, as well as their mothers along with the trapping of animals with steel-jawed leghold traps and wire snares, to lure animals with food and to shoot them from helicopters.
They did all that when President Trump signed a bill that overturned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ban on such activity. The argument for this unconscionable act was that the federal government should not be involved in a state’s rights issue. But wait, isn’t much of the land affected federal land? Yeah, it’s Federal land, like about 76 million acres covering 16 national wildlife refuges. You bet it is federal land, but the macho U.S. Congress and President must be getting real heat from the few dozen hunters that would kill sleeping animals there. Some might say, “That’s a lot of land to be out of bounds for hunters so maybe this law makes some sense.”
No, It doesn’t! The state of Alaska has just about 425 million total acres. If 76 million are protected that leaves about 349 million acres to hunt on. To put that in perspective 349 million acres is roughly twice the size of the entire state of Texas. I’m sure you can see how important it was to expand the hunting area.
“We must protect state’s rights,” proponents of the law say.
I say, no — this is federal land! And, if congress allows this, where does it end? State’s rights or not, it is still wrong! There’s plenty of room to hunt in Alaska without adding the federal land.
Supporters of the bill argued the revived practices would help lower the number of apex predators roaming the wilds of Alaska, which would increase the number of moose and caribou local people depend on for food. They argue local tribes depend on the animals for food and outsiders have no business regulating their state. I’ve got news for you folks, the U.S. Government is not an outsider. Russia, your former owner is an outsider. This is the United States, you can’t opt in and out at will. If you are a state, you accept that some federal government regulations and control will apply.
Opponents of the law argue its passage means “it’s only a matter of time” before hunters will be able to enter Yellowstone to kill grizzly bears and wolves inside the national park.” Well, if that’s the case being forewarned is being forearmed. Let’s get organized and prevent it!
I know a lot of hunters, I come from a part of the world where nearly everyone hunts and nearly every home has a couple of guns and I don’t know of a single one of them that would kill sleeping animals or go into a wolves den and kill entire families of animals no matter what the reason. During deer season, the hunters I know took almost as much pride in not getting their deer as those that did. A common question is, “Didja git yer deer?”
And a common answer is, “Nah…got skunked again ha ha ha.”
Not once have I heard a hunter say, “I found this hibernating bear and her cubs and killed the bunch of them.” No one would say that because that is certainly not sport and most real hunters would agree. Real hunters like the hunt, the chase, challenging the instincts of the animal and often losing. Real hunters don’t kill defenseless animals and their offspring.
I’m ashamed that in the 21st century our government allows such barbaric practices. You might be able to make a weak argument for state’s rights on state land, but not when it is federally owned. Besides, even if state’s rights applied, it’s still wrong.
Wayne Pacelle, President of The Humane Society said, “This should outrage the conscience of every animal lover in America. The signing of this bill means that we’ll see wolf families killed in their dens, bears chased down by planes or suffering for hours in barbaric steel-jawed traps or snares.”
While animal lovers are outraged at what they consider barbaric hunting practices, some officials including former Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe, consider the bill an attack on federally-managed lands.
“Special interest groups are quietly working at the federal and state level to lay the groundwork for federally managed lands to be handed over wholesale to state or even private ownership,” said Ashe, “Unfortunately, without the protections of federal law and the public engagement it ensures, this heritage is incredibly vulnerable.”
This is the last straw in proving the Trump administration has no heart. They want to cut breakfasts for children, take health care away from 14 million people, give tax breaks to the rich and now this. Enough is enough already. Killing hibernating bears and their cubs? To use a Trumpism, “Give me a break.”
This report by fact checking organization Snopes.com clarifies the issue and adds detail I didn’t have when I first posted this report. http://www.snopes.com/2017/04/04/house-votes-killing-hibernating-bears-alaska/
Let your congressional representative or Senator know how you feel about this policy. The following link gives you all the information you need to do that. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-contract-congressmen-and-senators-3368313
And from where I sit, that’s the truth