WASHINGTON—A poll by Remington Research Group commissioned by the Humane Society of the United States released today shows that over 65% of Alaskans oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to permit trophy hunters and trappers to use cruel and unsporting practices like baiting bears with piles of donuts on two million acres of public lands in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Notably, the poll demonstrates that Alaskans agree that they do not want to see these practices instated. The public has until Monday August 10 to comment on this plan.

On June 11, 2020, USFWS proposed a rule that would allow for extreme and controversial killing methods on the refuge, such as enabling trophy hunters to kill rare and iconic brown bears over pastries and other types of bait. The rule would  also remove a requirement for a federal trapping permit which contains crucial protections including a mandatory trap-check time, a ban on the use of steel-jawed leghold traps with serrated or spiked jaws, and a ban on setting traps within one mile of public roads.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “Alaskans are clearly opposed to the ruthless and extreme wildlife killing methods the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing on Alaska’s public lands. Allowing trophy hunters to lure and shoot brown bears over piles of irresistible bait or allowing Alaska’s beautiful and iconic wildlife to suffer in spiked traps for an unlimited time is cruel and unethical, with no basis in sound science. This carnage has no place on our public lands.”

Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said, “What will it take for the Fish and Wildlife Service to recognize that it should be protecting our nation’s treasured wildlife—not working hand in hand with trophy hunters to sanction some of the most cruel and heartless killing practices? In poll after poll, Alaskans have consistently registered adamant opposition to inhumane hunting methods, like allowing brown bears to be shot over bait. It’s mind-boggling that the agency would acknowledge the unique place our national lands have with Americans by supporting the Great American Outdoors Act one day, yet with the stroke of another pen sanction gruesome killing of our iconic species.”

Highlights from the poll:

  • 66% oppose baiting brown bears with pet food, grease, rotting game or fish and other high calorie foods on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
  • 66% oppose allowing trappers to use spiked traps on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
  • An overwhelming 79% oppose allowing traps to be set closer to public recreation areas and the removal of a one-mile trapping buffer zone on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  

The survey was conducted Aug. 3 through Aug. 5, 2020, with 984 Alaskans participating. Margin of error is +/-3.1% with a 95% level of confidence. View the complete survey.  

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