12th of Jul 2017

howling wolf protect environmental law Advocates for the West

By Associate Attorney Talasi B. Brooks

On July 5, the Idaho Fish & Game Commission opened a comment period on a proposal to change the rules governing bear baiting to now also allow for wolf baiting. Baiting is luring in a predator with smelly attractants, allowing it to feed until it becomes habituated or reaches trophy size, and then shooting it.

Generally, under Idaho’s rules, using game animals and domestic birds as bait is not allowed, but the proposed rule change would allow use of salvaged road kill in baits from December 1 to March 15 to attract wolves.

It’s bad enough that Idaho allows bear baiting, let alone expanding the program to now allow wolf baiting too. Nothing about shooting a predator over a bait qualifies as fair-chase hunting. Some Idaho hunting outfitters even offer opportunities for their clients to shoot bears over baits, drawing lucrative out-of-state tag dollars for the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG).

Last year, we also started hearing murmurs about a new Idaho wolf management plan. Although slated for completion last year, the plan appears to still be in the works. At a budget hearing before an Idaho Legislature Committee, an IDFG employee stated that the new wolf plan will not require a minimum wolf population and will only seek to minimize conflicts and avoid re-listing.

Put plainly, it appears the State of Idaho is seeking to encourage killing as many wolves as possible, so long as populations do not dip below the 150 wolves at which Endangered Species Act protection will be revisited. Where the State’s abuse of its position as steward of our wildlife is so obvious, it becomes more evident that federal oversight is needed. To that end, we were pleased to read this excellent scholarly article calling for greater federal land management agency involvement with wildlife management. The article is slated for publication this fall, and the authors are currently accepting constructive feedback.

Let IDFG know what you think about their new wolf baiting regulation. You have until JULY 25, 2017 to weigh in on this barbaric proposal HERE.

In the meantime, Advocates for the West will be closely tracking wolf management in Idaho. We’ll keep you informed of new developments.