Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Not 10,000 Alaskan schoolchildren
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1998:
side won the November voting on a referendum
which sought to ban snaring wolves, but
the anti-snaring side won 53% approval from
10,000 students in grades 4-12 who took part
in a “Kids Voting” civic education exercise.
Within the six-year span of one U.S.
Senate term, those students could tip the
Alaskan electoral balance––as hook-and-bullet
columnists were quick to decry.
Both sides were heavily funded
from outside Alaska. Pro-snaring drew
$95,000 in outside contributions, while antisnaring
That too was of solace to snaring
opponents, since the pro-snaring campaign––even
in winning––apparently fell far
short of early fundraising targets.
The Ballot Initiatives Coalition,
organized by former National Rifle
Association lobbyist Fred Myers to fight antihunting
measures across the U.S., anticipated
raising “at least $800,000 for the 1998 campaign,”
Safari Club International spokesperson
Jay Queto said in July 1998, half of
which would be spent in Alaska.
“Alaska is Exhibit A,” Myers confirmed
in October 1998 to Natalie Phillips of
the Anchorage Daily News, but he described
a total Ballot Initiatives Coalition campaign
fund of only $400,000, and only $85,000 had
been spent in Alaska to that point.
Friends of Animals donated most of
the Lower 48 support for the anti-snaring side.
The anti-snaring side was hurt by
inability to buy air time for their most powerful
commercials. Al Bramstedt, general manager
of the Anchorage TV station KTUU
Channel 2, refused to air a 30-second ad
showing a wolf who chewed off a paw to
escape a snare but remained caught by another
paw because he said it was “too dramatic.”
The clip was apparently from
footage taken by wolf researcher Gordon
Haber of the late November 1994 incident
which caused then-newly elected Alaska governor
Tony Knowles to cancel a state wolfkilling
“My eyes welled up,” Bramstedt
told Natalie Phillips of the Anchorage Daily
News. “I was right on the verge of crying.”
Meanwhile, Bramstedt continued
airing ads from the pro-snaring Coalition for
the Alaska Way of Life, which claimed passage
of the proposed ban would criminalize
any possession of wolf fur––a charge denied
by Alaskans Against Snaring Wolves chair