I wanted to share with you folks two experiences I had shortly after the May 14
Standard Class. One is, or was, very, concrete and real; the other, more of a feeling, a
thought, but real in its own way.
Did you know that fox walking in the city is a suspicious activity? There I was on the
Monday after class quietly, and slowly walking through a small neighborhood park in
suburban D.C. From a fox walk I went into a stalk towards an all-too-suspecting robin
which immediately flew away. I resumed my fox walk and, using my splatter vision as I
neared the road, I noticed that I was being followed by a car. It pulled up beside me and
the man inside flashed a badge and said, "Chevy Chase Police Department!"
"What're you doing?" he asked.
"Just walking," I said.
"I can see that," he snapped. "What're you, into trees or forestry or
"Yes," I replied.
"OK," he said. "Just checking.'
And we said goodbye and off drove, and off I (fox) walked. So watch out fellow
trackers, your activities will seem a bit strange to others!
Parting thoughts: Looking out the back of the pickup as we sped away from the Tracker
Farm and towards Route 78, the first thing I noticed was the amount of animal habitat that
blanketed the ridge on the east side of the road. Moving south at 50 mph the rear window
framed a world of nearly flat to sloping grassland and trees that moved into and out of
view at a bewildering speed.
The flapping of a blackbird as it perched high up in a sapling caught my scatter vision
and just for a moment, as if through the senses of that bird, I caught a glimpse of the
grassy patch of ground below him. I could see, almost feel, the vole tunnels that radiated
outwards from the tree trunk like spokes on a wheel. I saw the fox trail, a thin line of
bent grasses arcing through the meadow, the soft imprints strung like beads on a thread. I
felt the wind blow, ruffling my feathers and causing the branch to sway - making me flap
again to catch my balance, and then it was gone.
The distance between my self and the blackbird grew and, as it widened, filled in with
more expressions of our Earth Mother: a patch of grass, another sapling, the flutter of
life that catches a roving eye.
Both of these experiences grew out of the week I spent at the Farm with all of you. I
just wanted to say once again: Thanks!
All good medicine
Brothers & Sisters,
I am writing all of you to tell you of the senseless killing of wolves in Alaska. The
Alaska Board of Game is presently murdering the wolves so that there may be more moose and
caribou for human "hunting" purposes. If you are interested in more information
Defenders of Wildlife, 1244 19th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20036
It is especially helpful if you know any Alaskan residents who would be willing to fill
out and pass around petitions; the reason being, the Alaska Board of Game doesn't really
care what the out-of-staters think, yet they do care what the Alaskan residents think
(they are elected "officials"). Please do write the Defenders in request of
information. They will be able to point you in a better direction than I. Enclosed is a
News Release from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game which you may want to include
in the Newsletter.
"AERIAL WOLF CONTROL SUSPENDED
Juneau-Aerial wolf control in Alaska has been suspended until at least March,
Commissioner of Fish and Game Don Collinsworth announced today. The suspension came at the
request of several members of the Board of Game in a recent letter to Collinsworth from
board chair Brenda Johnson.
"I have suspended all aerial wolf control programs in the state to allow the Board of
Game another opportunity to address the issue during their March meeting," said
Collinsworth. "At that time, the board will consider the program again in light of the
changed circumstances resulting from the elimination of the use of radio collars and other
developments since the board's winter meeting."
In December, a Federal Communications Commission official informed the state that the
use of radio telemetry in wolf control was not in compliance with the conditions of the
state's permit. The practice has since been discontinued by the department.
In her letter to Collinsworth, Johnson stated that the apparent elimination of radio
tracking alters what the board approved in terms of costs and reduces the likelihood of
the program's success. Without the use of radio collars, the program is significantly
different from what was approved by the board and it should be re-examined by the board in
this new light.
The March Game Board meeting will be held in Anchorage at the Hotel Captain Cook,
beginning on March 16. The schedule of when wolf control issues will be dealt with has not
yet been determined.
The programs which have been suspended were authorized by the Board of Game last fall
and were located in the Interior, primarily near Fairbanks. The programs were designed to
increase depressed populations of moose and caribou in the Interior. The aerial kill began
in November and has taken 26 wolves to date. The last wolf was taken in early December,
when the program was suspended because limited daylight hours hampered its efficiency. The
program would have restarted by mid-February.
"This suspension will give the board another opportunity to examine the issue in light
of the new situation and will give the people of Alaska yet another opportunity to make
their views known to the board," said Collinsworth.