Judge Allows Aerial Wolf Hunt

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Hunters could soon be back in the air, gunning down wolves from airplanes near the remote Alaska village of McGrath. Animal rights forces promise they won't be far behind in urging a tourism boycott of the state. An Alaska judge last week rejected an attempt by Friends of Animals to stop a state-sponsored aerial hunt aimed at culling 35 to 45 wolves to keep them from eating moose. The state, you see, wants the moose available for the people of McGrath to kill and eat. McGrath, population 470, is about 300 air miles from the nearest grocery store and the people have been complaining for a decade that wolves and bears have literally been taking the food out of their mouths by eating the local moose population.

By wiping out wolves in a 1,700-square-mile area around McGrath, the state hopes to create a cornucopia of moose meat for the local residents. Earlier this year, the state moved 75 black bears and eight grizzlies that had also been feasting on the people's moose. They estimate the program increased moose calf survival by 20 percent. So far, the state has spent about $1,300 on each moose calf that is now available for local residents' freezers.