August 25, 2009
Feinstein Right: Aerial Wolf Management is NOT Fair Chase
By Dave Hurteau
Earlier this month, I blogged about a new bill in Congress aimed at ending Alaska’s wolf management practice of shooting the animals from the air. In the linked article, primary Senate sponsor of the legislation Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) said that "Shooting wildlife from airplanes is not sport. It undermines the hunting principle of a fair chase . . . .”
In your comments, a number of you were quick to point out that the wolf cull is not about sport or fair chase, but rather about wildlife management—an entirely different thing. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner agrees:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., understands the essence of Alaska's wolf population control program perfectly. "Shooting wildlife from airplanes is not sport," Feinstein declared.
Unfortunately, Feinstein doesn't seem to grasp the implications of her own declaration. She and others last week relaunched an effort to curtail Alaska's wolf management via federal law.
Feinstein did so, at least in part, because she believes the state's effort violates "the hunting principle of fair chase."
No, it does not, because, as she said, Alaska's wolf control program is not sport.
"Fair chase" is a loose, ever-shifting set of guidelines employed by individual hunters who, for a variety of personal reasons, often make their hunts more difficult for themselves and thus potentially less lethal to their prey. More power to them, but such standards are illogical when attempting to manage wildlife populations.
What homeowner would set a mouse trap but leave it unbaited just to give the mice a chance? What farmer would put cats in the barn but remove their claws so the rats have a fair shake?