A recent Anchorage Daily News article on March 4 caused me some alarm. The article pointed out that Corey Rossi, now ex-Wildlife Division Director, had been working on a plan “to give private landowners special rights to hunt big game, even out of season, and to be able to sell those rights to whomever they want.” Even more alarming, the article suggested that Gov. Parnell was fully backing this idea.
With Mr. Rossi leaving his job due to alleged hunting violations, I was initially hopeful his idea would leave with him. Unfortunately, it looks like it still has the support of the governor and his staff. According to an Alaska Dispatch article on March 5, Mr. Rossi’s replacement said the agency has not stopped working on the project.
Mr. Rossi, one of three founding members of the Alaska chapter of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, dedicated several years to unsuccessful lobbying for legislation modeled after work the organization had passed in other states. Once he was appointed to director of Wildlife, Mr. Rossi was finally able to push though much of the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife’s agenda. In Alaska land owners would be encouraged to “improve” production of game animals on their lands with the incentive of being able to sell the hunting rights.
Don Peay (the founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife) has called language protecting residence rights to hunt (like that found in Alaska’s constitution) “socialism,” and has worked hard in many states to privatize game animals to be purchased by those who can afford it. I do not want to see Alaska become another state where or our “wildlife” is to be raised on game ranches and sold to the highest bidder. If you value your right to hunt in this state, I encourage you to contact the governor’s office and let him know.