Some people tend to forget that state management of wolves isn’t a responsibility exclusively reserved to the Idaho Department of Fish & Game, a department that’s allegedly insulated from politicization. I slip “allegedly” in there because anyone who’s been paying attention to wildlife issues in the state has a good idea that the Livestock lobby pretty much holds its will over the head of even our good ol’ boy governor “Butch” Otter, let alone the IDF&G (See: Idaho Interim Bighorn Management Plan). The lobby exercises its authority most prominently in the legislature, where last week House lawmakers passed SENATE BILL NO. 1374. The bill sets the bar for “disposal” of wolves, which we’ll see below the fold, but for this space we’ll set the mood with with a characteristic sampling of the mentality behind the governing body that will hold authority over “managing” wolves in the state of Idaho come Friday.
The bill starts :
10 […]any person may control, trap, and/or remove any
11 wild animals or birds or may destroy the houses, dams, or other structures of
12 furbearing animals for the purpose of protecting property from the
13 depredations thereof as hereinafter provided.
That the Idaho legislature would spend its time clarifying the “rules of engagement” for its perpetual War on Wildlife is a telling indication of its priority and its intention. It ought give those wolf advocates who find themselves compelled to trust this state pause. But I digress…
Of wolves, the Idaho legislature recognized that illegal take would be the largest threat to maintaining wolves in the state when in its 2002 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan it said (p. 21) :
Illegal taking of wolves will be difficult to prevent, but is potentially the major impediment to restoration and orderly management of this species. Rigorous enforcement of laws and regulations in order to minimize illegal take, and to reduce adverse public perception of management will be needed.
Apparently, this statement was little more than pillow-talk, and now that the deed is next to being done – come Friday, six years later, the legislature is demonstrating its regard for the “rigorous enforcement of laws and regulations.”
The House made a few amendments to the recent bill, SENATE BILL NO. 1374, before passing it along to “Butch”. One amendment includes defining the conditions justifying the “disposal” of a wolf should wolves ‘conflict’ with livestock or domestic animals such as dogs. A “molesting” wolf is one that is:
41 […]annoying, disturbing or persecuting, especially with hostile intent or injuri-
42 ous effect, or chasing, driving, flushing, worrying, following after or on the
43 trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for, livestock or domestic animals. [emphasis mine]
I’m surprised they left out the infamous “stink-eye”, though I suppose such a dirty look might constitute hostile intent. What, pray tell, will constitute illegal take of a wolf in Idaho ? How will it be enforced/proven to be illegal under this standard of ‘legal’ take ?
To add insult to injury, wolf-killers will have 72 hours to report their ‘take’ of a wolf.
By Idaho’s own admission the greatest “impediment to restoration and orderly management” is illegal take. What does it say about their intention for wolves when they nearly unanimously pass legislation crippling any chance of preventing it ?
In Wyoming, they don’t hide their legalized and arbitrary intention to slaughter wolves. In Idaho, they give the act of arbitrarily killing wolves the lip-service of illegality, then make any protective regulation impossible to enforce.
The bill was passed by the senate and last Wednesday amended and passed by the house on a vote of 65 – 4. “Butch’s” move.