Idaho bows out of Federal wolf management program | TSLN.com

Idaho bows out of Federal wolf management program

Bill Brewster

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter notified Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Oct. 18, 2010, that the state would no longer act as the designated agent of the federal government to mange wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

In a letter to Salazar, the governor said the Idaho Department of Fish and Game “will not perform statewide monitoring for wolves, conduct investigations into illegal killings, provide state law enforcement in response to illegal takings or implement the livestock depredation response program.

“This directive preserves an individual’s right to kill a wolf in self defense or in the defense of another person,” he said. “It does not jeopardize the existing flexibility landowners and permittees have to protect their livestock and pets from wolves. Additionally, this approach does not ask Idahoans who continue suffering wolves – especially sportsmen – to subsidize any part of this federal program or bear the risk or burden of inadequate funding in the future.”

Jon Hanian, the governor’s press officer, said the state was just going to focus on ways to protect the state’s ungulate population and domestic livestock while working to expedite the federal delisting process.

“The role of designated agent was lauded in 2006 as a means of demonstrating that states like Idaho could manage wolves,” the governor noted. “We showed, during delisting, that we are responsible stewards of all our wildlife, including your wolves. We also showed that we could successfully manage a hunting season for wolves as we do for other species. The state managed wolves as part of the ecosystem, in concert with other species and needs, which was ironically decried by environmentalists who seemingly want wolves to benefit at the expense of other wild and domestic species.”

“In Idaho,” Otter wrote, “wolves serve as a constant reminder of how far we have strayed from the Founding Fathers’ original intent of a national government with limited, enumerated powers bestowed by the states.”

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He said wolves were forced on Idaho in 1994 with no regard for the impact the species would have on people, wildlife and livestock.

The governor said he was joining many Idahoans in questioning whether there was any benefit to being a designated agent without the flexibility of a public hunt, which has been denied. He pointed out that Idaho has an approved management plan and has as much flexibility as allowed under federal regulations.

“While some herald the introduction of wolves and the current population as a biological triumph, history will show that this program was a tragic example of oppressive, ham-handed ‘conservation’ at its worst. Idahoans have suffered this intolerable situation for too long, but starting today at least the state no longer will be complicit,” the governor wrote.

Otter said he has directed the Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) Commission to immediately refocus its efforts on protecting ungulate herds.

“IDFG already has identified several zones across the state where wolves are devastating our deer, elk and moose,” he wrote. “IDFG will be submitting additional applications, like the one you received for the Lolo Zone, for these areas as soon as possible so we can exercise our sovereign right to protect our wildlife. I have asked IDFG, where appropriate, to use experienced volunteers as special agents to aid Idaho in carrying out these control actions and reduce costs to the state.”

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter notified Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Oct. 18, 2010, that the state would no longer act as the designated agent of the federal government to mange wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

In a letter to Salazar, the governor said the Idaho Department of Fish and Game “will not perform statewide monitoring for wolves, conduct investigations into illegal killings, provide state law enforcement in response to illegal takings or implement the livestock depredation response program.

“This directive preserves an individual’s right to kill a wolf in self defense or in the defense of another person,” he said. “It does not jeopardize the existing flexibility landowners and permittees have to protect their livestock and pets from wolves. Additionally, this approach does not ask Idahoans who continue suffering wolves – especially sportsmen – to subsidize any part of this federal program or bear the risk or burden of inadequate funding in the future.”

Jon Hanian, the governor’s press officer, said the state was just going to focus on ways to protect the state’s ungulate population and domestic livestock while working to expedite the federal delisting process.

“The role of designated agent was lauded in 2006 as a means of demonstrating that states like Idaho could manage wolves,” the governor noted. “We showed, during delisting, that we are responsible stewards of all our wildlife, including your wolves. We also showed that we could successfully manage a hunting season for wolves as we do for other species. The state managed wolves as part of the ecosystem, in concert with other species and needs, which was ironically decried by environmentalists who seemingly want wolves to benefit at the expense of other wild and domestic species.”

“In Idaho,” Otter wrote, “wolves serve as a constant reminder of how far we have strayed from the Founding Fathers’ original intent of a national government with limited, enumerated powers bestowed by the states.”

He said wolves were forced on Idaho in 1994 with no regard for the impact the species would have on people, wildlife and livestock.

The governor said he was joining many Idahoans in questioning whether there was any benefit to being a designated agent without the flexibility of a public hunt, which has been denied. He pointed out that Idaho has an approved management plan and has as much flexibility as allowed under federal regulations.

“While some herald the introduction of wolves and the current population as a biological triumph, history will show that this program was a tragic example of oppressive, ham-handed ‘conservation’ at its worst. Idahoans have suffered this intolerable situation for too long, but starting today at least the state no longer will be complicit,” the governor wrote.

Otter said he has directed the Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) Commission to immediately refocus its efforts on protecting ungulate herds.

“IDFG already has identified several zones across the state where wolves are devastating our deer, elk and moose,” he wrote. “IDFG will be submitting additional applications, like the one you received for the Lolo Zone, for these areas as soon as possible so we can exercise our sovereign right to protect our wildlife. I have asked IDFG, where appropriate, to use experienced volunteers as special agents to aid Idaho in carrying out these control actions and reduce costs to the state.”

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