A new statewide poll by Remington Research Group shows that Alaska voters strongly support an end to cruel and unsporting practices used to kill bears, wolves and coyotes on the state’s National Wildlife Refuges.

On Jan. 8, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed changes to regulations governing non-subsistence hunting on Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. These changes are designed to uphold the purposes of the refuge system to conserve species and habitats in their natural diversity and to ensure that the biological integrity, diversity and environmental health of the National Wildlife Refuge system benefits Americans now and into the future. Based upon this new poll commissioned by the Humane Society of the United States, the majority of Alaska voters support such changes as they would end cruel methods of killing wildlife on Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges.

The poll asked the following questions:

Question 1: On National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska, bears are allowed to be hunted over bait, where piles of rotten game meat or fish and junk foods are placed at a certain location to lure bears in for an easy kill at point blank range. Bears that become habituated to human foods can become less shy and more unpredictable. Do you support or oppose the baiting of bears on Alaska National Wildlife Refuges?

  • Support: 39%
  • Oppose: 50%
  • Unsure: 11%

Question 2: On National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska, hunters can kill black bears, wolves and coyotes while they are in the den with their cubs and pups. Do you support or oppose this practice on Alaska National Wildlife Refuges?

  • Support: 30%
  • Oppose: 63%
  • Unsure: 6%

Question 3: Bears are trapped by steel-jawed, leg-hold traps and wire snares and then killed on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska. Leg-hold traps are powered by strong springs that slam the traps’ jaws shut on an animal’s leg. Wire snares tighten around an animal's limb or neck. Both bears—and other animals caught accidently—will struggle powerfully to escape these devices, causing painful injuries and suffering in distress. Some die in the traps while other languish without food or water for days until the trapper arrives to kill them. Do you support or oppose allowing the use of steel-jawed, leg-hold traps and wires snare to kill bears on Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges?

  • Support: 37%
  • Oppose: 58%
  • Unsure: 5%

Question 4: On National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska it is legal for hunters to use aircraft to scout for bears, land, and then kill those bears the same day, or to shoot bears from aircraft. Do you support or oppose the killing of bears using this practice?

  • Support: 35%
  • Oppose: 59%
  • Unsure: 6%

“Alaska is home to some of our nation’s most iconic wildlife, and these animals deserve to be treasured and conserved for future generations, instead of subjected to cruel and unsporting trophy hunting and trapping methods,” said Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife for the HSUS.

The telephone poll of 1,399 statewide Alaskan voters was conducted by Remington Research Group on behalf of the HSUS from Feb. 24 through Feb. 25, 2016. The margin of error is plus or minus three percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.

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