Assault Rifle Slaughter of Denali Wolves

Washington, DC, April 3, 2018 — The State of Alaska is scrambling to shut down hunting and trapping adjacent to Denali National Park over concerns that excessive kills may destabilize this iconic wolf population. Photos posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) show a man armed with an AR15 semiautomatic rifle displaying ten wolf carcasses outside Denali.

In an emergency order issued on March 30, 2018 and revised yesterday, Alaska Department of Fish & Game (DFG) cut short the hunting and trapping season on state land along the Stampede Trail, including land adjacent to the eastern boundary of Denali National Park and Preserve. The stated reason for the order is that –

“The wolf harvest this season in the area described is more than the past 5-year average and there is the potential for more harvest to occur before the end of the regulatory hunting and trapping seasons.”

While DFG claims in its order that “There are no conservation concerns for wolves” in the Denali region, the agency admits that it has no idea how many wolves have been killed this year. Moreover, the state has not acknowledged reports that a hunter on a snow machine armed with a semiautomatic rifle recently killed ten wolves outside Denali.

“While I am glad that Governor Walker has acted I am concerned that it may be too little, too late,” said Rick Steiner, a retired University of Alaska professor and PEER board member, who has led the charge for permanent buffer zones around Denali. “The historic high level of take has already altered wolf ecological dynamics, not counting these reports of additional kills just now coming in.”

Studies show hunting and trapping outside Denali is having a big impact on the viability of wolf packs inside Denali, which is Alaska’s top tourist attraction, drawing more than a half-million visitors annually. Not only are Denali wolf family groups disrupted, but visitor-viewing success has plummeted as well.

Similarly, at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, hunting has so decimated wolf packs that the National Park Service had to end a more than 20-year research program on predator-prey relationships. Its scientists found that the wolf population in the 2.5 million acre national preserve is “no longer in a natural state” nor are there enough survivors to maintain a “self-sustaining population.”

Significantly, Alaska has agreed to participate in an independent National Academy of Sciences review of its predator control programs for the first time in 20 years since the administration of Governor Tony Knowles (1994-2002), the only governor in Alaska history to prohibit lethal predator control programs.

“Alaska’s predator control program is clearly out of control,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Alaska should put predator control on hold until it gets a handle on what is actually occurring.”

In response to the recent excessive losses at Denali, Alaska citizens are renewing their call for the Governor to establish a permanent no-kill buffer protecting all park predator species – wolves, bears, lynx, wolverines – along the boundary of Denali, to restore the natural ecosystem and visitor viewing success in the park.

Read the state emergency hunting and trapping closure order

Look at hunting adverse impacts on Denali wolf packs

See decimation of Yukon-Charley wolf packs

View Trump repeal of hunting restrictions inside Alaskan national parks and refuges

Look at growing doubts about Alaska’s predator control program

32 COMMENTS

  1. Dedicated scientists like Rick Steiner should be listened to. A permanent buffer around the park is necessary for the maintenance of balanced ecology in the whole area. Statewide there is no need for any predator control program. The killing of wolves or anything else from a snow machine is sick and needs to stop. It’s shameful that we have so many individuals in our society who have no connection to or empathy for wildlife and seem only to be able to relate to wild animals in the roll of executioner.

    • I totally agree with everything you said. Bloodthirsty killers. I’m ashamed to be in the human race. Seems like animals are by far the higher species!

  2. It takes a sick, despicable, cowardly and bloodthirsty individual to enjoy killing animals, whether for trophies or just for fun. They should not be allowed to do this and the government and state authorities need to take urgent and decisive action. Oh, I forgot, so many of them are hunters / pander to the gun lobby / are influenced by wealthy organisations who profit from hunting. Trump and his family are perfect examples of this. Why do people actually enjoy killing?

    • Wolf slaughter is despicable. However, please don’t lump hunters in with this idiot. Also? Please keep your uninformed Trump hatred out of the discussion with 99.5% of hunters.

  3. It hurt to see the photo of all the dead wolves. My next painting is of wolves in Denali and seeing this really upset me. I hope they stop the killing of innocent animals that are just roaming through Denalis beautiful foot hills.

  4. State Fish and Wildlife is responsible for this 100%. They are the ones that set the rules and they know that hunters are using ARs to kill wolves, bears, birds etc As long as they buy their license to kill all is forgiven. Where I live 24 pregnant elk cows were killed by kids with ARs. Nothing happened to them because boys will be boys. The weird thing is that those people are destroying their economy. A hunter is worth $34 per day to an economy whereas a tourist is worth $129 per day and the animal is still alive to be viewed again and again not dead in some hunters freezer. Poachers are just hunters that didn’t have a license. But they do the same thing- kill the wildlife. Solution; get more women and non-hunters in that state sponsored hunting club called State Fish and Wildlife or continue to watch them exterminate our beautiful but hurting wildlife.

    • Do you have a news article to cite this? I ask because most AR’s fire a .223 round which is a glorified .22 round. .223’s are designed to tumble around, cause damage, and immobilize. Death while an option isn’t the normal outcome. You’d have to empty a number of rounds into elk to kill them. Same with a bear. In fact most states don’t allow big game hunting with .223 because it injures instead of kills.

      Now when you say 24 pregnant cows that would be a lot of carnage. I’d find it hard to believe that F&W would condone such a mass slaughter. When done without a hunting tag that is considered poaching. In many states poaching fines include loss of hunting rights, weapons used during poaching, fines, jail time, and possibly felony charges.

      Also, can you define “kids”. Are we talking minors? Are we talking 14 year old kids? Where’d they obtain the weapons, and ammo? I would ask finally can you explain why hunting is allowed and needed?

  5. As a hunter I can say this individual simply enjoys killing and posting photos of his exploits. This gives a black eye to every ethical hunter in the field, does not matter if it was legal, simply wrong.

  6. You are killing animals who are natural to that region. You say you’re a good person to help keep the population. Good people know that humans have destroyed on a devastating level. You want their land…that’s why they are in your way.

  7. This is an absolute outrage. Such an incredible waste. It makes a mockery of hunting as a sport and is devoid of human decency. Deploying an automatic weapon of war on wildlife is an act perpetrated solely for financial gain and to satisfy some sick fetish. The guy who shot this wolf family knows this, which is why he obscures his identity in his brag photos.
    I wasted my time visiting Denali a couple years ago and saw NOTHING. The state of Alaska caters to hunters to a point that they’re decimating iconic wildlife populations and ultimately will kill the golden goose tourism has historically been. As a photographer I have little interest is spending my time and money on returning to Alaska, only to find the same (or worse) spare populations of grizzlies and wolves. If I want to photograph eagles and black bears I can do that right here in PA a few miles from my house. Get your act together Alaska and consider where the real motherlode of dollars is coming from.

  8. most ar15 are not an assault rifle they are an assault weapon but only in certain states. there is a difference. an assault rifle is a military term that has certain parameters. the one parameters ar15s are missing is changing modes function to either burst mode or fully automatic mode. if the gun has either mode it’s highly regulated.

    what makes an assault weapon is what the state classifies it as such. in California an assault weapon is defined by the handle grip.

    now, i’m done with accuracies, i don’t like people killing wolves.

    • From the POV of the animal or person hit by the bullets, there is no difference in the damage done, since the AR15 and the M16 fire the same bullets. It does not matter what the gun that fires them looks like if the bullets are of equal mass and fired at the same muzzle velocity, they tear flesh, splinter bone and liquefy organs just the same. Semantic arguments don’t save lives!

  9. I wonder if the idiot in the picture with all the wolves he killed with his “big” fancy AR is proud of himself! I hope KARMA gets him real soon! A PEER Executive Director quoted, “Alaska’s predator control program is clearly out of control”…Do you think?! The State Fish abd Wildlife are responsible for this!! I agree with the comment from Bridgett Blaque, eliminated planned vacation to Alaska!!

  10. This is exactly WHY I will never go to Alaska. It sucks, because it’s a kind of beauty unlike anywhere else in the world, but it’s a beauty that Alaskans (especially its politicians) exploit and murder just for MERELY EXISTING. The recent stripping of sanctuary status for the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge is an atrocity and guarantees that this WILL NOT STOP. We must protect this place! SAVE YOUR WILDLIFE, ALASKA!

  11. Bloody horrid. Always want to go to Alaska to see wolves in their natural habitat. Doesn’t seem to be much point visiting there because the chances of seeing any will be slim to none. Then there’s the disgusting thought of sickos running them to exhaustion and killing them with machines. Really off putting.

  12. The guy in the photo is a spineless coward! Show your face and own the carnage you created, or are you so weak you can’t handle the fury of those ‘weak’ environmentalist? Was going to travel to AK this summer with a group of photographers, we will be cancelling our trip until useless programs like this are eliminated.

  13. With respect, this article is a classic example of social media manipulation, and PEER should be ashamed. First of all, the firearm referenced in the article is an AR-15, and the AR-15 is most certainly NOT an assault rifle, as stated in the title, so they’ve deliberately misrepresented that fact before they’ve even gotten going. Then you read the article and discover that the rifle isn’t even relevant to the story, or the issue in question, which is how to effectively manage the wolf population in Denali. It makes reference to an individual who killed 10 wolves with an AR-15, but would the killing be any less concerning had they been shot with grandpa’s bolt-action rifle with a wooden stock? Of course not. Which means that they’re flag-waving about the rifle just to generate clicks, and appeal to a certain prejudice that some folks have about the AR-15. Did they mention the hunter’s race or his religion or his favorite football team or brand of underwear? Nope. Because those things are irrelevant to the story. But they went out of their way to mention which rifle he used, even though it was equally irrelevant.

    Proper management of wildlife is a legitimate concern. If this individual violated the law by harvesting too many wolves, he should be prosecuted. And if changes need to be made to wildlife management guidelines to assure a sustainable wolf population, proposed changes should be seriously considered. But exploiting the public’s ignorance and the current hysterical prejudice about firearms, especially the AR-15, in order to gain clicks is beneath the most minimal standards of journalistic ethics, something which journalists once held sacred, and sadly, too many no longer do.

    • BS this is not manipulation the State of Alaska has long ignored science, the majority of people who don’t want wolves or other large carnivores trophy hunted and has allowed insane cruelty and carnage. Thanks PEER for calling it ike it is and exposing this outrage.

  14. Mankind is only alive and safe and has oxygen, water and life because of Earth’s first, natural and wild surfaces, created, supported, sustained and protected only by all wild and native species. And, native species of predators like wolves, coyotes and foxes are vital species: Famous scientist: “Predators in natural abundance play a CRITICAL ROLE in maintaining healthy, functioning ecosystems [wild and natural planet Earth, only]. Targeting them only causes these highly social animals suffering and stress and erodes the fabric of interconnectedness that supports ALL LIFE.”

  15. Trust there is a special place where these people will be sent and can spend eternity together. What a horrible picture to be so proud of that you feel the need to post!

  16. it doesn’t matter what weapon was used! The shame and horror is the fact that the animals were killed. I don’t give a crap if they were killed with a freaking sling shot. It is the fact that the animals were killed that is the issue. If all were left to Nature things might level out. But of course as humans we know best and must kill for sport which is pitiful. Shame on all that participate in this and may Karma sneak up on you and then you may reap what you sow.

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