VICTOR, Idaho— As part of its ongoing effort to kill ever more wolves, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is now proposing a rule that would permit hunters to bait and kill wolves throughout the state. If the rule goes into effect, Idaho would be the only state in the country to permit wolf baiting.
“Since wolves lost Endangered Species Act protection, Idaho has grown increasingly aggressive in how and where it permits their hunting and trapping,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Idaho’s proposal to become the only state in the United States to allow baiting of wolves is shameful and unethical.”
The Center and allies long opposed removal of endangered species protections for wolves in part because of the hostility of states like Idaho toward the animals. Protections in Idaho were removed in 2011 through a congressional rider on a must-pass spending bill. Since that time Idaho has continuously sought more ways to kill wolves, including sending trappers into wilderness, creating a “wolf control board” and annually appropriating $400,000 for killing of wolves, aerially gunning them down from helicopters and now baiting.
Between 2011 and 2015, at least 1,397 wolves were killed in Idaho in sanctioned hunts. Wolves are also regularly killed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game or Wildlife Services in connection with livestock depredations. All of this killing has at the very least halted growth of the population and very likely is leading to declines, but it’s hard to tell because Idaho has scaled back counting of wolves and has not yet released a population estimate for 2016.
“It’s so sad to see Idaho aggressively working to reverse wolf recovery, especially when that recovery is something most Americans support,” said Santarsiere. “In the absence of federal oversight, Idaho is doing everything it can to decimate Idaho’s wolf population.”
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is accepting comments on the proposal until July 26. The public can visit the following website for more information: https://idfg.idaho.gov/idfg-rulemaking/consider-allowing-bait-hunting-gray-wolf-during-specific-seasons.