Alaska may become the first state in the U.S. to ban the use of Tasers on wildlife after the state’s Board of Game passed a proposal that would prohibit the use of “electronic control devices” for hunting. That’s a rather generic term to describe a Taser, a device that uses electricity, delivered by two electrodes on the end of wires, to incapacitate its victim. The weapons are often used by law enforcement to safely subdue a person without doing permanent damage.
Park Rangers and wildlife management officers in Alaska have been carrying Tasers for a number of months now, and the devices have proved quite useful, particularly with bear and moose. Rangers on the Kenai Peninsula for instance, equate carrying a Taser to having an “electric fence in a person’s hand,” using them regularly to scare the animals out of areas they shouldn’t be in. The weapons have even been used, from time to time. to stun an animal to assist it in some way. One ranger recently Tased a moose for instance, so that he could remove a chicken feeder that had become stuck on its head. Before letting the moose go, he was also able to check the overall health of the creature as well.
Now, the fear is that private citizens may start using Tasers to subdue an animal in order to get a picture taken with downed creature. Since the devices can be unreliable at times, especially without proper training, this opens the door to all kinds of potential problems, including permanently injuring or even killing the animal. The hunter could find themselves in trouble as well if the animal were to shake off the effects of the Taser while they’re standing next to it for that photograph.
If the new proposal becomes law, then only properly trained law enforcement officials would be able to use Tasers on wildlife. Perhaps we should rethink this plan however, as anyone who is crazy enough to try to use a Taser on a grizzly bear, just to get close enough for a photograph, may need an introduction to a little concept known as “survival of the fittest.”