Wolf wars: Idaho bill would allow the killing of 500 wolves

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Wolves are a threat to livestock, as many ranchers know.

Idaho lawmakers are targeting the state’s wolf population, approving a bill that would set up an oversight wolf-control panel and provide funding for the termination of 500 wolves.

House Bill 470 cleared both chambers of the state Legislature and is now on its way to the governor’s desk where he is expected to sign it.

“We are of one mind, that Idaho wants to manage our wolves and we want to manage them to a reasonable number so that the species don’t get endangered again and the feds don’t come in and take it over again,” Gov. Butch Otter told The Associated Press.

Currently the state has an estimated wolf population of around 600, maybe fewer. Lawmakers would like to bring that down to the federal mandated minimum of 150 wolves or 10 breeding pairs, according to The Idaho Statesmen.

To monitor the wolf-killing agenda, HB 470 would establish a $400,000 fund and a five-member panel, known as the Wolf Depredation Control Board, to assess when a wolf pack is threatening or endangering wildlife or livestock.

Money for the panel would come from the state’s general fund, fees on sportsmen and the livestock industry, The AP reported.

In the past, wolves were on the federal government’s Endangered Species List. But in May 2011, the wolves were delisted from the Endangered Species List after the population exceeded its recovery goals for 10 consecutive years.

For some, the notion that the Fed could regulate what farmers and ranchers can shoot on their own land was not only government overstepping its authority, but also a plot to usurp property rights from citizens.

“But it’s not stupidity and insensitivity behind this evil plot. It’s an effort to get people like me out of the wilderness and back into the cities where we can be controlled, herded and numbered more efficiently,” wrote Joseph Farah of World Net Daily back in 2002.

“Just because your particular ox is not being gored by these wolves, your turn is coming. Believe me. If western ranchers don’t have any property rights, guess what? Neither do you – no matter where you live. And they’ll be gunning for you soon enough.”

Wolf conservationists, however, dismissed the notion of a big-brother government and maintain that the animals need to be protected.

“It was seen as direct government intervention into their way of life and telling them what they had to put up with and what they couldn’t shoot,” Amaroq Weiss, West Coast Wolf Organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity, told CrooksandLiars.com.

“So this goes way back,” Weiss added. “The wolf has always been a surrogate for hatred for the federal government in the areas where the reintroductions took place.”

Jodi Minion, PETA’s Wildlife Biologist, also sees HB 470 as a misguided measure.

“Idaho has essentially declared war on wolves, which is especially alarming as gray wolves were listed under the Endangered Species Act until just last year,” she told Guns.com in an email.

“Manipulating the wolf population in this way caters to the meat industry and hunting lobby by preventing federal protections from kicking in,” she continued. “Lethal methods are cruel, resulting in many non-recovered animals who succumb slowly to gunshot wounds and orphaned young who are left to starve.”

“Instead of adopting legislation to ensure constant bloodshed, Idaho should consider nonlethal wildlife-management methods that are adaptive and integrative and also consider the welfare of animals and the environment,” she concluded.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, these large marauding pack-assassins amassed 87 confirmed kills in 2011. That’s up 17 percent from the previous year. Their Idahoan victims include 50 cattle, 34 sheep and 3 dogs.

[H/T Opposing Views]