University of Alaska PRESS

Book Detail

Book Cover

6 x 9, 224 pages, 13 photos

Format: paper

Price: $24.95

October 2008

Big Game in Alaska

A History of Wildlife and People

by Sherwood, Morgan



Written with such force and style, and exhaustively researched in primary documents of the period, Big Game Alaska is certain to become a classic work in American environmental history.
-Fred Runte, Technology and Culture


The people and big game animals of Alaska lived together successfully until the dawn of the twentieth century. Alaska's vast size "586,000 square miles" and varied landscapes provided ample living room for beast and man. Demographic, technologic, and economic growth triggered by the military buildup after WWII marked the beginning of the end of Alaska's frontier innocence and endangered the most fragile part of the wilderness -the big game animals.

Not until the early 1930s, with the maturation of the Alaska Game Commission, was a balanced game management program implemented. However, Sherwood explores the flaws within the system revealing the distorted science, the menace of new technologies, environmental imperatives, pressures from a uniquely structured population, the traditional hostility of farmer and fisherman toward animal predator, and an atavistic belief in man's democratic right to shoot wild animals when he chose.
Sherwood brilliantly synthesizes the flaws of years of failed attempts to govern big game predation and provides a useful guide to the history of the relationship of Alaska's wild beasts and Alaskans.

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