Wolf Control Bill Moves to Idaho Senate
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Lawmakers voted 49-16 on Friday to direct $2 million to help kill problem Idaho wolves, over objections from Democrats who say it’s a poor use of the money. The vote sends the measure, backed by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and livestock producers, to the Senate. Idaho has 118 packs and about 680 wolves, according to 2012 figures. This wolf control fund’s proponents argue existing measures by federal trappers and hunters aren’t enough to tackle wolves that prey on sheep, cattle and elk herds coveted by hunters, so this fund is designed to help pick up the slack. The livestock industry and Idaho Department of Fish and Game would each chip in $110,000 to the fund. According to the bill, it would be overseen by a five-person board that includes the directors of Fish and Game, the Department of Agriculture, representatives of hunting and livestock groups, and one at-large member appointed by Otter, possibly from an environmental group. Foes, including Democratic Rep. Ilana Rubel of Boise, told lawmakers that the bill disproportionately directs precious taxpayer resources toward killing wolves. Rubel says all the scientific evidence she’s seen from actual biologists at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game shows that Idaho’s wolf population is declining.