The Washington Times - August 28, 2008, 02:24PM

Although it happened in Alaska, where hunting is a rich tradition, and the proponents that tried to limit a state’s authority to manage predator species lost, similar attempts will be made in the lower 48 states and they may not fare as well. It pays to be vigilant and stop every animal rights group’s move to interfere with professional wildlife biologists and their recommendations regarding the management of wild game, including predators whenever they become too numerous.

The prestigious Safari Club International (www.safariclub.org), an organization made up mostly of well-to-do American hunters and conservationists, sent an e-mail to say how pleased it was that Alaska voters on Aug. 26 defeated Measure 2 on their primary ballot. Measure 2 would have limited the state’s authority to manage predator populations that threaten the state’s wildlife, livestock and even pets.

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SCI’s Alaska Chapter president, Eddie Grasser, said, “The misinformation spread by the proponents of this ballot initiative was amazing, but not surprising considering these individuals are not Alaskans and do not understand Alaska’s wildlife and ecology. Many organizations rallied together to ensure that Alaskan wildlife management remained the prerogative of the state Department of Fish and Game — not out-of-state extremist groups.”
The president of the SCI, Merle Shepard, added “This should be a lesson to the animal rights extremists. They may think the politics of this state are changing, but the truth behind science-based conservation never will.”

Back here on the East Coast, just a few years ago Maryland wildlife officials decided it was time to cull out some of the black bears in the western-most counties of the state when animal rights activists immediately demanded that they be included in the decision-making process.

Their influence was very limited, but it goes to show that the Bambi-huggers always believe they know more about wildlife management than professional scientists do who spend their entire lives studying the animals, learning about them and realizing that sometimes something needs to be done to balance wildlife populations.

If you leave game management to the totally wacky People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or the very rich Humane Society of the United States, you’d have deer dining on azaleas in downtown New York and Washington; you’d see cottontail rabbits in apartment flower boxes and wild geese in your swimming pools.