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Idaho Dispatch

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Gov. Little Signs Bill that Could Reduce Wolf Population by 90%

By • May 7, 2021

Update at 7:45 p.m. MST on 5/7/21:

Rep. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale) sent Idaho Dispatch the following message regarding Senate Bill 1211:

The introduction of Canadian wolves into Idaho has had tragic results for both Idaho wildlife & domestic animals. Wolves have expanded across the state & their numbers have exploded from the original 35. Current management has not resulted in controlling their numbers nor slowing the resulting damages. Idaho Code requires the Legislature to set Fish & Game policy with Fish & Game implementing the policy. It was time for the Legislature to act.

 Original story below.

Senate Bill 1211 would allow the state of Idaho to reduce the wolf population in Idaho by up to 90% of what the current numbers are.

Estimates are that the bill would allow 1,350 wolves to be killed. If that number of wolves were killed, it would leave approximately 130 wolves in Idaho.

Governor Brad Little signed SB 1211 into law earlier this week.

Little’s office released the following statement to Idaho Dispatch about his signing of the bill:

Idaho has been responding to wolf depredations for years, and this legislation is an attempt to provide additional tools to address conflicts that negatively impact our wildlife populations and harm Idaho’s agricultural industry – the backbone of our economy. I commend the Idaho Fish and Game Commission for the work it has done to address conflicts over the last several years. I share the Legislature’s desire to do as much as we can as quickly as possible, but it is vital that the Commission maintain management authority and the necessary discretion to address changing dynamics within Idaho’s landscape and ecosystem.

One of the biggest changes to the current law with SB 1211 is that it will allow the Wolf Depredation Board to work with private contractors to reduce the population of wolves. Previously, the board could only enter into agreements with political subdivisions of the state.

Additionally, the bill makes it so the killing of wolves on private land can happen year-round, and it also makes it so that there is no limit on the number of tags that a person can purchase during the year.

Idaho Dispatch also reached out to Sen. Van Burtenshaw (R-Terreton), Sen. Mark Harris (R-Soda Springs), Rep. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale), and Rep. Mike Moyle (R-Star) for comment on the signing of the bill. All four legislators are listed as primary sponsors of the legislation. No response has been provided by any of them at this time.

The U.S. Humane Society opposed SB 1211. Here is what they posted on their website in response to Little signing the bill:

Despite overwhelming opposition from Idaho residents, professional wildlife biologists and managers and state fish and game commissioners, Gov. Brad Little signed S. 1211 into law on May 5. We urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to uphold its obligations to review and relist gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act. Reckless policies like Idaho’s will lead to unfettered killing of wolves in the months ahead unless the agency steps in to protect these vulnerable animals.

What do you think of SB 1211?

Do you think the wolf population in Idaho needs to be reduced? Let us know in the comments below.

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Tags: Brad Little, Judy Boyle, Mark Harris, Mike Moyle, SB 1211, U.S. Humane Society, Van Burtenshaw, Wolves

8 thoughts on “Gov. Little Signs Bill that Could Reduce Wolf Population by 90%

  1. Wolves have devastated the deer and elk in unit 4 period. In the last 4 years they have virtually disappeared comparatively. The mountain lion population has increased and have been doing a good job cleaning out whats left.

  2. The wolf population has done VERY well. They’re not exactly “vulnerable” or “endangered”. This is a good move.

  3. Finally endangered Wolverine and Moose populations will have a chance to recover from heavy predation by wolves in Idaho’s backcountry!! Also the continual spread of the Wolf carried tapeworm that has done so much harm to our ecosystems can be limited. This Legislation has been long overdue.
    Tim Kemery
    Challis, Idaho

  4. Fully support this legislation. I am grateful to the Governor for signing this. Now to see the implementation.

  5. A very good move for Idaho game and livestock populations. If we can get our neighboring states to do likewise we can get this problem to a manageable level.

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