What others say: Hunting regulations about state’s rights

It’s about states’ rights.

The National Park Service has proposed aligning federal and state rules regarding hunting and trapping on national preserves in Alaska.

The Obama administration imposed restrictions beyond the state’s in 2015. President Trump is proceeding to repeal those rules.

A 1994 state law dealing with wild predators, such as bears and wolves, allows for their control in order to maintain populations of their prey.

In 2015, the park service pointed out that federal law doesn’t allow for predator control for the purpose of protecting prey. The service also opposed government interference in the predator-prey dynamic.

The service, under the direction of a new administration, now favors following state practices in regard to predators within national preserves.

The park service would like to allow the taking of black bears, including sows and cubs, with artificial light at den sites; permit baiting both black and brown bears; taking wolves and coyotes, including pups, during the denning season; taking swimming caribou and caribou from powerboats; and allowing the use of dogs to hunt black bear.

Whether one agrees with predator control or not, the bigger issue is states’ rights. States should decide how to manage the wildlife within their borders.

Government is most likely to be more responsive to the public at its lower levels. If Alaskans, who inhabit the land along with the wildlife, see a need for predator control, they have better access to the state government to express their views. They also are more likely to be heard.

If Alaskans are against predator control, then they — once again — are more likely to be listened to when they speak up if they address state government.

Alaskans can debate predator control. But Alaskans should agree on state control.

— Ketchikan Daily News, May 23, 2018

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