Narrow focused Chief of Alaska Fish and Game Wildlife Chief’s resignation cause for rejoicing among many-

Corey Rossi is the kind of guy wildlife biologists don’t like. He had a narrow focus on big game hunting and what he thought would result in the maximum production of moose, caribou and a handful of other hunted wildlife coupled with a hatred of predators, including the large ones like wolves and grizzly and the giant brown bears too, generally popular with the American public, and associated with the idea that Alaska offers a remnant of great wilderness.

Rossi didn’t have the training typical of department leaders (no formal training). It wasn’t clear why he was appointed, and he continued a close association with controversial interest groups after joining the Department.  According to his critics, there was fear he favored or was beholden to rich hunters who wanted to get a trophy for their wall the easy way,  such as with a helicopter. Critics said he was trying to change state laws and regulations to favor these wealthy hunters and organizations that disdain carnivores.  Those in the department that didn’t like him were said to have been muzzled, but retired and Alaska ex-wildlife professionals and conservation groups kept up a campaign against him uncovering the alleged violations while he was an outfitter guide in 2008.

His critics said he supported brutal techniques for killing animals he didn’t like.

Rossi was first appointed by Governor Sarah Palin in 2009 for the new position of assistant commissioner for “abundance management.”

Palin had just made a national name for herself in part by attacking those who had professional training in any number of areas and supporting those who were skeptical of expertise or advanced education. This has long been a theme in some kinds of American populism. Rossi seems to fit her model.

There is a lot of celebration in some circles. Wildlife chief’s resignation resonates with Alaska biologists. By Rick Sinnott. Alaska Dispatch.  Folks believe that stomach turners such a described in this article will be a thing of the past, “Alaska’s newest wildlife experiment: Snaring and shooting brown bears.” By Bill Sherwonit. Anchorage Press. 

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

40 Responses to Corey Rossi, major Alaska wildlife official, resigns after 12 criminal bear hunting charges

  1. william huard says:

    What a disturbing story. Sportsmen for Sportsmen and SCI’s influence on the state of Alaska is ruining the state. Isn’t it Sara Palin always talking about cronyism? His appointment to his former position is the height of cronyism

  2. CodyCoyote says:

    Sarah’s hired gun…

    • william huard says:

      Ya got em sweetie, ya got em- it only took you 5 shots…..Ya gotta love that good ole varmint rifle!

  3. JEFF E says:

    I have been reading on some sites about how this individual is another Sportsmen for (some)fish and (some)wildlife, Don Peay hack. The way I understand it is that he was appointed to this position and does not even so much as have a collage degree…in any thing , much less one that pertains to biology. He also facilitated the transfer of a number of some type of special tags that are going to be auctioned off in Salt Lake City in the near future.

    • JB says:

      As I understand it, he was a Board Member for “Sportsmen” for Fish & Wildlife at the time the crimes were committed. I hope more articles point this out, as that particular group is doing their damndist to give true sportsmen a bad name.

    • Matt Wheaton says:

      Nope, he doesn’t have a collage degree. I’ll bet he doesn’t have a college degree either genius.

      • skyrim says:

        Only a Troll would point out simple a$$ spelling errors to a regular poster. Genius!
        (sorry moderators)

        • Jackie Maughan says:

          Absolutely. It’s really bad manners to be that picky and pedantic about minor and occasional errors.

        • JEFF E says:

          actually I am making a concerted effort to cut down the use of spell check and proof read my posts. Obviously I have mixed results.
          Having said that my reply is that you found a miss-spelled and /or miss-applied word on an Internet blog.

          Good job.

          Here is a pat on the head and a lollipop.

  4. jdubya says:

    Ughhh, that bear snaring story did turn my stomach. What kind of a demented shit hunts that way?

  5. Jon Way says:

    The 2nd article, which was very detailed and informative by the way, states: As Aumiller comments, “I would bet if there was a video available on YouTube showing the efforts of a terrified snared bear trying to get away, snaring would not even be proposed.”

    We could say this about many animals in the lower 48 since we allow trappers to do this in most states that haven’t been them. Coyotes, wolves, and even mt. lions – all highly sentient and intelligent – are killed by being stuck in traps and snares. Even bears in Maine. And the mentally of state fish and game depts is summed up by Mark Gamblin’s quotes on this blog “that we see this as an acceptable way to manage wolves (trapping in parts of the state) and that this won’t harm the robust number of wolves”. Whether you are in Alaska, Idaho, or Massachusetts this viewpoint is all the same, tragically, by our wildlife officials…. This guy just got pointed out for allowing it with grizzlies. I wonder if they would want their pet dogs and cats to die this way?

    • Jon Way says:

      sorry, this statement should read (2nd paragraph):
      We could say this about many animals in the lower 48 since STATE AGENCIES allow trappers to do this in most states that haven’t been BANNED BY THE PUBLIC (certainly not wildlife agencies).

  6. Mike says:

    Guys, this is just an isolated incident. Nothing much like this goes on….


  7. Elk275 says:

    I just read the second article and the snaring of black and brown (grizzly) bears is wrong and wrong again. If the State of Alaska wants to remove additional brown bears then lets repeal the guide requirement for brown bears hunters. A guided brown bear hunt depending upon where it is done cost between $10,000 and $20,000 any effort to repeal this regulation has always meet with guide/outfitter oposition. Guides are complaining that brown beara are a factor in low moose numbers but do not want a non resident hunter hunting brown bears without a guide. If a non resident hunter can hunt moose, caribou, black bear, deer, muskox and elk without a guide then they can hunt brown bears, the same goes for sheep and goats. If a non resident can climb any mountain in Alaska then a hunter should be able to hunt without a guide.

    • JB says:

      And this would be where the “it’s [my state’s] wildlife, so to Hell with what non-residents think” argument comes back to haunt you, Elk. If Alaska wants to require non-residents to have a guide, who are we to tell them any different. After all, it’s their wildlife, right? [Sorry, I just couldn’t resist] 😉

      • Elk275 says:

        I agree with you, but it is not the state, it is the outfitters/Guides. I have a very lower opinion of North American guides, I have been one and been a client. A large percentage of the Alaskan hunting guides do not live in Alasks, a non resident can be a guide, I had an Alaskan and Montana guide’s license at one time have no interest to have one now. Excuse me! I am getting a fishing guides license this summer so I can get pro deals.

        It is the state’s right to require a guide. But if they want grizzlies/brown bears reduced then that will quicken their demise for several years.

  8. Rivkah says:

    Hooray! This idiot is GONE, finally. Rick Sinnott is an awesome wildlife officer. I have seen him free trapped moose and he has helped wildlife all over Anchorage. Appoint him! He’s make a great chief, if he wanted the job, that is. He’d rather be out there working than playing politics, though.

  9. mikarooni says:

    Rossi is deeply embedded in SFW and a fully attached-at-the-hip Don Peay crony. I believe that he has written quite a few articles for their propaganda magazine and spoken on their behalf as a famous Alaska wildlife official. It’s funny; in the bylines for their mag, they made his credentials and qualifications sound so much more impressive. Honestly, the mag made it sound like he had a PhD and was God’s gift to sportsmanship. Browning heavily advertises with and sponsors SFW; I would have thought they would have had more corporate caution than to get associated with this kind of corruption.

    • Mike says:

      Amazing. I’m not surprised that Rossi is linked to an extreme anti-wildlife group like SFW.

  10. Craig says:

    mikarooni, sfw is a BS campain for real hunters! I would never support anything they or any of there people support!

    • IDhiker says:


      Try “Backcountry Hunters and Anglers,” for what I consider to be the best of hunter organizations.

  11. Wade Willis says:

    If you want to see the real truth about Rossi… check out this article by the science now project in Alaska ..

    • JB says:

      Thanks for posting, Wade. I became familiar with SFW and Don Peay when living in Utah. I see the apple didn’t fall far from the tree with Rossi.

      • IDhiker says:


        A gentleman I often meet when climbing on a local mountain, was wearing a hat that had a SFW logo on it.

        Can you give me a short expose’ on this group? I understand they aren’t highly regarded, but other than that, I don’t know much about them.

        • somsai says:

          go to their website. Google. Ask on hunting forums. Similar to many hunting orgs they do actual habitat preservation, they’ve also had a widely successful program of coyote control in Utah. They are certainly less radical pro hunter than Western Watersheds is anti hunter.

          I’ve considered joining their local chapter as well as Backcountry and RMEF.. Lots of good middle of the road orgs.

          • Mike says:

            Nice try, troll. The gig is up.

          • william huard says:

            I remember Mr Peay’s group tried to get leg passed in Utah which would have allowed coyotes to be stuck in traps for a week before being checked…..I guess that is what Somsai is referring to as “less radical pro hunter…..what a joke…

          • Jon Way says:

            maybe somsai meant “wildly inhumane coyote control program”, not “wildlife successful”. Of course Somsai, I am sure you have no data to support those claims but they killed some so it must have been successful! (since I believe that you are new here, that was intended sarcasm).

          • JB says:


            Where to start? The first time I met Don Peay was at a meeting in Utah, shortly after #253 was trapped near Morgan, Utah, and subsequently returned to YNP. Ed Bangs was speaking about the success of the reintroduction and FWS’s efforts (which were already started) to get wolves in the West off the ESA (this was 2003). Despite the emphasis of Ed’s talk, which was clearly about delisting wolves, Don got red in the face and was yelling at Ed, demanding that wolves be removed from the ESA so they could get some “damn management”.

            About the same time, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources decided to begin a collaborative process for coming up with a wolf-management plan. Don got himself named to the group, which, if memory serves, met for over a year hashing out the specifics of a plan that was acceptable to all stakeholders. As you noted in the other thread, none of them were happy with all aspects, but it was one they agreed they could live with. (Remember, Utah’s wolf population was zero at the time).

            In the end these efforts weren’t good enough for Don. He used SFW and his pull with legislators to kill the plan in favor of the most anti-wolf plan in the US–one that explicitly attempts to prevent a pack from forming in the state. All that money, time, and effort was wasted because one guy could pull strings behind the scenes.

            Don Peay and SFW exemplify how money and connections can corrupt democratic processes–especially in the West.

            somsai: By Don’s own admonition, he spent half a million lobbying to get wolves delisted (see link below). They also regularly sponsor predator “derbies”–(i.e., killing contests that make a mockery of the notion that “wildlife should only be killed for a legitimate purpose”, one of the tenets of the NA model).


          • Mike says:

            ++I remember Mr Peay’s group tried to get leg passed in Utah which would have allowed coyotes to be stuck in traps for a week before being checked…..I guess that is what Somsai is referring to as “less radical pro hunter…..what a joke…++

            Yep. What a sham organization. An embarrassment to anyone who enjoys the great outdoors.

          • william huard says:

            With all this special interest cronyism- that is- these hunting groups trying to get special access to coveted trophy hunts- shows these organizations for what they are- a bunch of rich blowhards like Peabrain Peay who care little about healthy ecosystems…….
            The thought that Peay had access to the legislative process in Wash DC makes my stomach turn.

          • william huard says:

            In fact-
            Don Peay’s stance on predator derbies, wolves and coyotes puts him in my top 5 all time slob hunters…..Right up there with Ken Behring, A Donau, Rex Rammell, and Tony Makris…..

        • Jay says:

          There is a reason they’re referred to as sportsmen for some fish and some wildlife. Basically the hook and bullet species are looked after, and to hell with everything else.

          • Mike says:

            That’s always been the case.

          • IDhiker says:

            JB & others,

            Thanks for the information on SFW. I did cruise their site to learn more. I noticed their coyote contests, petition about wolves, and the fact that a number of their board members were and are members of the Idaho Anti-wolf Coalition. I think I get the drift of what they are about.


January 2012


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey