A federal wildlife official said Monday a bill that would allow ranchers to use live bait to lure marauding wolves to traps or shooters would make Idaho’s laws to protect wolves inadequate.
Brian Kelly, the Idaho state supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told the Idaho Statesman that the bill, introduced by Terreton Republican Jeff Siddoway, would reverse a decade of work by the state and federal government to protect wolves and rancher interests. The major problem is that it allows people to kill any wolves within 36 hours of harassment of their livestock or family pets without approval of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
“What I’m telling people is anything that compromises or usurps the process or the management through the peer reviewed plan of the department is a problem for us and we’ve been pretty clear about that,” Kelly said.
The bill was approved by the Senate Resources and Environment Committee and sent to the floor for a vote. But it has been held from a vote at the request of Siddoway until March 1. It would allow anyone whose livestock or family pet was killed or harassed by wolves to shoot them from airplanes, use night scopes on rifles or even lure the wolves in with live bait within 36 hours. Then they can get a 60-day permit from the state.
Once approved and signed by Gov. Butch Otter, anyone could petition the federal government asking for a relisting under the Endangered Species Act. They would have a strong argument that Idaho laws no longer provided an “adequate regulatory mechanism” to keep wolves from heading back toward extinction.
“We’ve spent over a decade working through this,” Kelly said.