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Gov. Sarah Palin gets a pat on the back from Sportsmen's Alliance for her support of aerial wolf hunt

February 12, 2009 |  2:04 pm

Sarah Palin gets some support from the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance No shocker here: The group U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, along with eight other organizations, including the Archery Trade Assn. and Bowhunting Preservation Alliance, has pledged its support for Alaska's wolf management program.

The program, which has come under fire from animal activists such as the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, includes the hunting of Alaska's wolves by airplane -- a measure that supporters say is necessary to maintain the state's populations of the wolves' traditional prey, including moose and caribou.  Gov. Sarah Palin's support of the aerial hunting, of course, led to the production of a controversial video narrated by actress Ashley Judd.

Sportsmen's Alliance President Walter P. Pidgeon, in a letter to Palin, dismissed the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund's attack as "part and parcel of a well orchestrated publicity stunt meant to achieve maximum exposure and minimum discourse."  From his letter:

... we want to publicly endorse your wolf management policy.  We believe the recent public relations blitz initiated by the Defenders of Wildlife grossly mischaracterizes your Administration's wolf management policy.

After years of research, it is recognized by practically all state and federal wildlife officials that predator management is a prerequisite for guaranteeing stable populations of prey species. ...

The future of effective wildlife management necessitates that emotional pleas not substitute for reasoned analysis.

Without the aerial hunting program, Sportsmen's Alliance Senior Vice President Rick Story said in a statement, "eventually, disease and hunger would kill far more wolves. ... It is simply wrong for an environmental group to use Hollywood glitz and glamour to hide science from the public."

In a statement earlier this month, Palin herself said the Defenders -- which she characterized as an "extreme fringe group" -- were "twisting the truth in an effort to raise funds from innocent and hard-pressed Americans struggling with these rough economic times." 

The group's president, Rodger Schlickeisen, shot back: "Deception and deflection are all that that Governor Palin has ever offered in place of justification for her aerial killing program ... it is she who is the extremist in this case. And she knows it."

--Lindsay Barnett

Credit: Chris Miller / Associated Press

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