Animals & Money: Palin's fiscal weakness for hunters

When John McCain picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, wildlife lovers cringed for two reasons. The first is that she seems like just the kind of smart, young leader who has battled corruption and government waste that could get not so environmentally friendly Republicans elected. The second is that Palin herself has been on the side of hunters instead of wildlife watchers--even when the fiscal numbers are not on hunting's side.

Palin--in addition to vowing to sue to stop the listing Polar Bears as an endangered species--has put the weight of the state behind defeating a ballot measure that would have limited the aerial shooting of wolves. Nationwide aerial hunting has been banned since 1972's Airborne Hunting Act, but Alaska gets around that by saying the hunters are working for the state to control predators. The idea is to produce more moose and caribou to hunt.

The Alaska Fish and Game Department has been allowing aerial wolf hunting--even though voters said no to it twice--for since 2003. (The legislature later overturned the voters' decision.) But this time Alaskans voted 92,781 to 74,124 to allow it.