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I don't think their losses have been anywhere near the figure you have mentioned. We have spent quite a bit of time investigating that, and we find they are inclined to blame the bear for all of their difficulties, when, in fact, a severe winter is one of the largest difficulties.
Ind another is losses from slides, falling off clitt's. They lose quite a few from water hemlock poisoning. All of those, some people are inclined to blame on the bear because the bear ate the dead carcass in some instances.
We went into quite a study on it and we found the losses aren't substantial. Of course, they are vexing. If you lose one head of cattle you don't like it.
Mr. Urt. I would say for the record that loss you referred to, Mr. Sisk, was over a 7-year period and was not a 1 year's kill.
Mr. Sisk. I am sorry. I should have clarified that. I believe it was over a 9-year period. I am sorry. I did not mean to leave the impression that was a single year. But one rancher testified he suered what would be a $10,000 loss.
Mr. RHODE. That is substantial, and I don't blame him for being a little bit fed up or alarmed with that.
Mrs. PFOST. I believe I further questioned the witness who testified to the $10,000 loss and asked him how many animals that represented per year, and he said approximately three animals per year from his own herd.
Mr. RHODE. I think that is substantially what our finding is. It is not a very large figure, but it could mean a lot to somebody struggling along with a new industry. I do not know that we are in a position or would be in any case, no matter where a man undertakes the development of that kind, to guarantee he will have no losses. The animals were there. He must consider there is some calculated risk in an enterprise of that kind. I think that is pretty well the situation throughout the United States also.
Mr. Sisk. I would like to pursue that a little bit further. I can appreciate your position, and I do not mean to be critical of
your desire to protect the bear there or to protect the moose in the other area, and so on, because I think we all recognize those represent natural resources which, once gone, can never be replaced. But I did want to pursue just this much further with reference to some of the testimony up there about their inability to do anything about the situation.
You do permit them, as I understand from your testimony, if a bear is found in their general area where their cattle are, to kill the bear without any question of being penalized.
Mr. RHODE. That is right. We say when animals are about to molest persons or property, and that is a little bit difficult to interpret, but if they find a bear in the close vicinity, I mean, say, within a quarter or a half-mile of their cattle, and they have had some losses, we would never quarrel with them about whether or not they shot that bear. We would expect the bear in that area where that cattle ranching is going on will soon be a thing of the past.
The point is that they take their horses and organize a hunt-a couple of ranchers wanted to do that—and take their dogs and go back miles away and kill every bear they could find and track down. We object to that.
Mr. Sisk. About the moose. For example, if a man found a moose on his farm and he killed him, you are not going to prosecute him for that; are you?
Mr. RHODE. We haven't had that come up. I hate to
Mr. Sisk. Let us say he finds him in his haystack. If I had a haystack and caught one in it, I would feel like shooting him. You would too, I believe. Is that permissible?
Mr. RHODE. I suppose it would be. It says any animal-no, it doesn't say any animal, either. That particularly refers to bears. But I presume a case could be made for that. I think he first should give us a chance to move the animal out by other means. If we can't do it, probably we would have to kill it.
Mr. UTT. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. Utt. The lady in Matanuska said that one morning there was a moose on her lawn and it would not get off, and the children could not go to school. How long would she have to wait to call you to come over and get that moose off her front yard?
Mr. RHODE. We actually had cases like that, Mr. Utt. We had to go get a moose off a front porch in Anchorage. And last winter again it was that deep snow that caused the difficulty. They were in a number of people's yards. If we were going to see that any time a moose comes in and starts to eat a little bush in vour yard and it gets close to a haystack and you can kill it, that would be the end of the moose. That is why I am hesitant to make a general answer to that. It is a difficult problem to keep moose out. I don't know how you would build a fence to keep them out.
Mr. Sisk. In my area of California we have foothill farmers and the deer herds come down due to normally the same circumstances you speak of here, but they kill the deer as they get on their property. I mean if they come in and molest crops or anything like that, they will kill them, of course.
Mr. RHODE. We haven't gotten even that far with it. But last winter was the only time we had a severe problem, and we had snow 7 feet deep. It was pretty difficult for any animal to get around. Three hundred moose were killed by the Alaska Railroad in spite of having planked all the bridges to keep them from falling between the ties. We had a kill almost that great on the highway system. I don't think that will happen again. I hope not soon, anyway.
Mrs. Prost. Is that meat preserved or is it lost?
Mr. RHODE. We saved almost every bit of it. Between that and animals received from violations we supported at least a dozen children's homes and the sanitarium at Seward and hospitals.
Mrs. Prost. That is wonderful.
Mr. RHODE. It was all utilized. It was an awful lot of work for our people. Two or three agents spent about all winter dressing and hauling meat and delivering it to these places.
Mr. BARTLETT. Judge Chenoweth.
Mr. CHENOWETH. I want to ask about the bear situation. How many bears are killed on Kodiak a year on the average? What is the hunting season?
Mr. RHODE. I believe it is between 200 and 300. Maybe that figure is wrong, but I believe that was about what it was last year.
Mr. CHENOWETH. What is the license fee?
Mr. RHODE. For nonresidents it is $50, which includes all big game.
Mr. CHENOWETH. Isn't it true that more and more hunters are coming from the States to hunt bear?
Mr. RHODE. Yes. The guides on Kodiak have been booked solid far before the season opened. In fact, we had to reduce the length of the season there because they were eating into the bear population pretty heavily.
Mr. CHENOWETH. I have several friends who go to Kodiak almost every year to hunt bear.
Mr. Rhode. Our studies indicate the average bear brings back in revenue about $2,500 on Kodiak.
Mr. CHENOWETH. Is there a season on moose ?
Mr. RHODE. Quite a number. Of course, the prime trophy is bear, and next important is sheep, and quite a lot take moose. I don't know how many were taken by nonresidents.
Mr. CHENOWETH. The $50 license permits them to kill moose as well as bear?
Mr. RHODE. Yes, sir.
Mr. RHODE. That is right. And they employ a registered guide and, of course, they spend a good deal of money on transportation, planes or horses, whatever they use for the trip.
Mr. CHENOWETH. What would you estimate would be the total income from your big game hunting season a year, just roughly? You say it is more valuable than the cattle industry, and I think you are right. I didn't hear the testimony up there, but I know it is a pretty valuable business. It is a pretty valuable business in my own State of Colorado, and I know it is valuable in many States. I assume it is very valuable up here and should be protected and preserved if possible.
Mr. RHODE. I appreciate that. Those sentiments coincide with mine. I think we will find the recreational aspects will exceed the monetary value you might put on the meat. The average Alaskan kills big game for meat, and that means a good deal to them. A moose is probably worth $400 to them in meat alone.
Mr. CHENOWETH. A native Alaskan doesn't pay $50 for a license?
Mr. CHENOWETH. And these 300 bears you mention go to hunters from outside ?
Mr. RHODE. Largely so. I think at least 200 would be from nonresident hunters. Some people go from Anchorage.
Mr. CHENOWETH. Do you have some bears killed you never hear anything about?
Mr. RHODE. Yes.
Mr. RHODE. It is, especially in southeastern Alaska. They are now running into trouble with the logging business. There are some 85 logging camps in southeastern Alaska, and each one of those camps has a problem with bear killers. Everybody wants to kill a bear. .
Mr. CHENOWETH. I was interested in the question about the losses to the cattle industry. Tell me something about the cattle industry. When did it start operations? How extensive are the cattle operations in Kodiak or Alaska proper ?
Mr. RHODE. I am a little bit reluctant to give you figures. We have them, but mostly it has developed in, I would say, the last 15 years. We had some activity in the Kodiak area years ago, which has been abandoned. Chuginadak Island had cattle on it, a few, and it was abandoned. It is now being operated again on a small scale. There wasn't the market to support it actually until the military efforts started in the Kodiak area. The transportation problems were great and almost defeated the chance of success of the venture.
Mr. CHENOWETH. What meat do you use mostly?
Mr. CHENOWETH. Do you import a good deal of beef from the
Mr. RHODE. Yes, sir; almost all of it is imported.
Mr. CHENOWETH. Are there any packing plants up here where they can process these cattle?
Mr. RHODE. There are none in Alaska to my knowledge.
Mr. CHENOWETH. What do they do with them? Where do they sell them?
Mr. RHODE. They sell it as fresh beef.
Mr. RHODE. Up to this present point mostly it has been a speculative thing, each man selling brood stock to the next fellow to try to get established. There hasn't been much beef industry built around it.
Mr. CHENOWETH. How many thousand head of cattle are up here, would you say?
Mr. RHODE. Less than a thousand.
Mr. CHENOWETH. You say some companies tried it, experimented, and found it wasn't profitable ?
Mr. RHODE. That is right.
Mr. RHODE. Mostly individuals. There are about a dozen on Kodiak who own them, started out with a few head and keep it increasing to build up. I am sure it is less than 1,000 total.
Mr. CHENOWETH. And they think you should exterminate the bears to protect the cattle?
Mr. RHODE. In a sense I don't blame them. Their losses in cattle are more important to them than the bears. In the overall picture to the public at large, we feel that isn't the case. We feel they can have a cattle industry and still have the bears, but that we must expect a few losses.
Mr. CHENOWETH. They knew the hazards were there when they went into the place?
Mr. RHODE. That is right. I think they had to calculate that as a risk along with the long winters and the lack of food and some other things in the picture.
Mr. CHENOWETH. You would say then generally the cattle industry is not too profitable and attractive in this area?
Mr. RHODE. I would say it is more attractive there than anywhere here. It is no howling success to date.
Mr. CHENOWETH. The cattlemen haven't come up and established large cattle ranches, have they?
Mr. RHODE. That is true: They have not. A number of them last year, at least a dozen, came to our office to talk about the possibilities. Men from Texas and Arizona looked it over, and to the best of my knowledge they decided against it.
Mr. CHENOWETH. It is not looked upon as a business which would be very profitable?
Mr. RHODE. It is indicated that it hasn't been because they haven't done much with it to date.
Mr. CHENOWETH. The market for the military attracted some of them to go into the business?
Mr. RHODE. I think that is true on Kodiak. They have a local market for fresh beef.
Mr. Utt. Will the gentleman yield ?
Mr. UTT. I think the record should show the military does not consume the local cattle because they cannot be graded Ù. S. Choice or better.
Mr. RHODE. That is right, but the people that come into the Military Establishment that it supports are the market.
Mr. Utt. Thank you.
Mr. CHENOWETH. Each one has to find his own market and do his own slaughtering then?
Mr. RHODE. Yes.
Mr. TAYLOR. Just one question and I don't want it to sound facetious. I wonder if a man could take an insurance policy out on his cattle so if bear did kill one of them he could collect? I don't know.
Mr. RHODE. I don't know. Possibly Lloyds of London. They insure almost anything. I think their big drawback would be to prove what caused the loss. We have that problem right now. As I say, the bear will eat the carcass of anything it finds and might not have had anything to do with killing it. That would be the argument, I imagine, that would drive the insurance company out of the business.
Mr. BARTLETT. Mr. Sisk?
Mr. Sisk. I just have one more question, Mr. Rhode. Do you have in your service anyone who actually would handle what we call public relations?
Mr. RHODE. No, sir; we do not.
Mr. Sisk. Don't you feel probably one of the greatest troubles that your service has up here is a lack of public relations? In that I
a I have in mind relations between your Service and the people of Alaska.
Mr. RHODE. Very definitely. There is no question but what a lot of our troubles would be very minor that have become major simply through a lack of understanding, a lack of contact to explain it to enough people. We would like to carry on a program in the public schools, too, a conservation education program brought up to discuss the things that are important here in Alaska. We are making some plans along that line, but we have a difficult time. If we had one