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Costly hunting trips

Dear editor:

I am incensed to read that last summer Donald Jr. went to Mongolia and while there shot an argali sheep which is a threatened species. After the killing, according to Pro Publica, he then was able to obtain a "coveted and rare" permit to hunt this sheep. The permit was issued after the fact, of course, because of his father's status. The trip cost us taxpayers $76,859.36 according to a Freedom of Information Act filing by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, for his Secret Service protection.

Now, his father's administration has taken another step to endanger animals. The current secretary of the Interior, Daniel Bernhardt, has reversed hunting restrictions introduced in 2015 by the previous administration to protect animals within the jurisdiction of the national parklands in Alaska. He says they will increase hunting opportunities. For what sort of hunters? In July, hunters will be able to shoot grizzlies that they have baited with doughnuts soaked in bacon grease, crawl into dens and kill hibernating bears and cubs, use artificial lighting to lure black bears out of their dens, shoot caribou from motorboats while the animals are swimming, and kill wolves and coyotes during the season they nurse their young on federal lands.

In Alaska, it is a criminal offense to feed wildlife because it conditions them to human food.

" ... the Trump administration is declaring open season on bears and wolves through their sport hunting rule on national parklands in Alaska," National Parks Conservation Association President Theresa Pierno said to Newsweek.

True, some types of hunting, such as shooting caribou from boats, is allowed on some state lands for native subsistence hunting in the Arctic. The native population is allowed leeway in hunting for food, but people like the president's son have not been allowed to fly out to the preserves to hunt for sport.

I emailed a friend who lives in Alaska to see what she had to say about it. Her husband who has hunted in the past, says this is a form of predator control that they do not need.

Joel Bennett, who served on the Alaska Board of Game from 1977-90 said, "National Park Preserves were established for the use and enjoyment of all Americans. When these areas were created in the early 1980s, general sport and subsistence hunting and trapping were allowed in the preserve portions of these national parks, but with reasonable restrictions and with the overall goal of maintaining natural and balanced wildlife populations. Practices that amounted to predator control ... were never part of this legislation. And this is what the current proposed rule changes seek to impose."

Donald Jr. is planning to host a seven-day youth hunting trip in Alaska, on a luxury yacht, where he'll be joined by the winner of an auction hosted by Safari Club International. They are planning to hunt Sitka black-tailed deer and sea ducks. I wonder how much the Secret Service will cost us this time!

Ann Hair

Hot Springs

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