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article imageOp-Ed: Controversial wolf hunt approved in Idaho

By Karen Graham     Nov 14, 2014 in Environment
Salmon - In a move steeped in controversy, the Bureau of Land Management on Thursday approved a recreation permit allowing for a hunting contest, open to children and adults alike, to take place on public lands in Idaho.
The hunting group, Idaho for Wildlife, (a misnomer, in some people's opinion), requested a permit for a so-called predator derby every January for five years on millions of acres of land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BKM) in east-central Idaho.
The contest, open to children as young as 10-years-old when accompanied by an adult has a cash prize of $1,000 for the largest wolf killed, and a $1,000 cash prize for the most coyotes killed. There are supposed to be "prizes" for the youngsters if they kill a few jackrabbits, starlings, skunks and weasels.
This year's request for the special permit generated over 40,000 comments, mostly from organizations and individuals opposed to the BLM granting Idaho for Wildlife the special federal recreation permit. There were only 20 comments in favor of the hunt. The six-year-old hunting group, which has about 350 members, contends that wolves and coyotes are killing a large number of cattle, sheep, elk and deer across the state.
Animal rights activists and other opponents of the contest are rightly concerned the killing derby could spread to other western states. As a matter of record, wildlife commissioners in Oregon, New Mexico and California.will vote on a proposal to ban these hunts in December. Conservationists call the hunts "killing contests."
Environmental groups file lawsuit to halt derby
The Idaho Statesman reported that WildEarth Guardians, Cascadia Wildlands and the Boulder-White Clouds Council filed a lawsuit late Thursday in federal court in Idaho against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
The lawsuit contends the BLM violated federal environmental laws when they issued a special-use permit to Idaho for Wildlife to hold the predator derby on bureau land. Laura King, an attorney at Western Environmental Law Center, representing the complainants in the lawsuit said, the BML didn't follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in issuing the permit.
The lawsuit also contends the U.S. Forest Service violated its very own policies by not requiring Idaho for Wildlife to obtain a special-use-permit, and if they had issued a permit, they would be in violation of NEPA regulations. "The bottom line is that permitting and NEPA analysis is required to make sure the public interest is being taken into account when public lands are being used for a killing contest like this," King said.
The 2013 predator derby in Salmon, Idaho drew 230 people, about 100 of them hunters. No wolves were killed, but 21 coyotes were slaughtered. Idaho for Wildlife's web page last year espoused the Predator Derby as "an opportunity to team up with our son or daughter during Christmas break and spend some quality time in the gorgeous Salmon, Idaho Country! Some of our objectives are to teach hunting skills, gun safety and wolf disease prevention to our youth and others."
Idaho for Wildlife can dress their message up in pretty images of hearty family entertainment all they want, but it is still nothing more than a farce. Steve Adler, the head of the hunting group talks about the "many cattle, sheep and other animals" being killed by the big, bad, wolves. He also describes the "enviros," (his word, not mine) as "spinning" information in their favor. I’m tired of these ranchers taking it and getting hurt. We’ve got to stand up for them,” he said.
Alder chooses to ignore the facts, and based on actual governmental sources, predation of cattle in Idaho accounts for less than a quarter-of-one-percent. The biggest killer of cattle is illness and weather. So who is perpetuating false information? Or as Adler likes to say, who's "spinning information" in their favor?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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