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ID: Farm Bureau delegates support aggressive action on wolves

BOISE — During their annual meeting Dec. 4-6, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation members voted to support a more aggressive approach to controlling problem wolves during winter months, when it is easier to track them because of the snow.

The decision was made during Federation’s 79th annual meeting, which was held at the Riverside Hotel in Boise.

Delegates from the Federation’s 37 county Farm Bureau organizations voted unanimously to support a mandate from the legislature to state fish and game officials to allow Wildlife Services to more aggressively control problem wolves during winter months.

Wildlife Services is a federal agency that partners with the state to solve conflicts between humans and animals.

According to Wildlife Services, wolf kills of Idaho livestock hit a record 113 during fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30.

“In [fiscal 2019], we will have at least half again as many wolf depredations as we had [last year],” said Cascade cattle rancher Phil Davis, who has suffered about 70 wolf depredations on his property since the predators were re-introduced to Idaho in 1994-95.

“The wolf situation has gotten considerably worse year after year,” he said.

The voting delegates, all of whom are farmers and ranchers, also voted to support allowing Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board funds, which are now used solely to support lethal control of problem wolves, to also be used to collar more wolves to facilitate control actions.

The policy that encourages that also supports the continued existence of the WDCB, which gets about $400,000 a year from the state, $100,000 from cattlemen and $100,000 from sportsmen to support Wildlife Service’s lethal wolf control actions.

The wolf board currently has a sunset date of June 30, 2019. The policy supported by Farm Bureau delegates would keep the board’s funding level at least at its current amount.

During the 2018 Idaho Legislature, a proposal was floated that would have reduced the amount of state funding for the board from $400,000 to $200,000 a year.