Idaho lawmakers are considering a plan that would encourage Gov. Butch Otter to declare a disaster emergency due to the state’s wolf population. House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, is sponsoring the plan that was introduced Friday in the House Ways and Means Committee.

If the legislation is approved and the governor follows through with the declaration, it could let the governor’s Office of Species Conservation issue orders to prevent or avoid any immediate danger posed by wolves. Such orders could include steps to reduce Idaho’s wolf population.

Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, backed the plan in the House committee. She said wolves are making her and others feel unsafe when venturing into the wilderness. “People are now being threatened, both physically and mentally,” she said.

Boyle has a list of 59 Republican lawmakers signed on as sponsors to the plan. Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, opposed introducing the plan.

Otter’s office had no comment on the legislation or any plans to declare a disaster related to wolves.

Boyle said the declaration could make it easier for the state or local officials to contract with federal officials to shoot wolves that are preying on animals or threatening people. She said current protections make it difficult to remove problematic wolves.

Idaho’s wolves are currently federally protected by the endangered species act, though some conservation groups and the federal government have agreed to a plan that could delist wolves. That plan requires approval from U.S. District Judge Donald Malloy, who last August put the state’s wolf population back on the protected list.

Under current state law, the governor can declare an emergency to prevent any imminent threat, including natural disasters or terrorist or military attacks. The legislation would expand that declaration of emergency to include having more than 100 gray wolves in the state or any conflict between wolves and humans, livestock or big game animals.

Idaho had at least 705 wolves last year according to a recent federal study, which was an apparent decline of almost 20 percent. It’s still well above the 100 wolf target mentioned in the legislation and original federal wolf recovery goals.

The legislation also mentions several findings of fact, including that wolves are a clear and present danger to humans and that they’ve made activities including walking, hunting, picnicking, and berry picking less safe for people.

Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, said one of the risks to humans and animals is cysts that can be transmitted from wolves. An Idaho Department of Fish and Game website says potential of human exposure to the parasite that causes the cysts is relatively low.

The legislation now faces a full hearing in the House.

Note: is published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which contributed to the drafting of this legislation.

Photo courtesy of echiax.

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  1. Courtney G. Patten

    We need to not only delist the wolves and reduce their numbers but we need to get rid off all of the Canadian Gray wolves in Idaho. They were never here so why did they ever need to be reintroduced. If they want to have wolves then they need to work with the Timber Wolf. I am tired of people that live outside of our state dictating to us what we have to do. It is time to let the people that live here make the decisions that are best for us.

  2. Long live the wolf!!!!! They need to be kept forever wild, free and protected!!!! They were here before we were. They are a vital part of the ecosystem!!! When was the last time a wolf bit and/or killed a human!!! We as people are also developing and building in their homes….what do we expect them to do. Unfortunately media dictates society and society has created a mental panic amongst society. They are more afraid of us then we are of them….media says wolves are dangerous, our beloved family dogs can be just as dangerous as wolves…should we go around and start killing our family dogs. Our beloved family dogs bite and kill more people and animals than wolves do…..think about it!!!!! Long Live The Wolf!!!!!!

  3. Every time I hear stories like this it annoys me, we are not the most important animal species on this planet, in fact we are the most dangerous and destructive species who have an uncontrollable population problem. It is riduculous when people make proposals to cull animals already low in numbers – just look at us, the only reason they need to be culled is because our population is expanding thus making is intrude on other animals territories even more. The decisions made should not just be the decisions that are “best for us” but decisions that are logical and fair for other animals. Any thing that gets in our species way is simply destroyed without considerations, we are an ignorant race and we’ve got to change.


  5. Wolves (Canis Lupis – Gray Wolf) are indigenous to North America. They have lived in harmony with all of the other indigenous species in North America for over 25,000 years (15,000 years longer than humans). The amount of ignorance, hate and intolerance expressed by the local community towards Wolves is almost unbelieveable! This piece of proposed legislation is just another example. Bears and Lions have a much smaller population than Wolves do in the Nothern Rocky Mountains and yet both animals kill a much larger amount of humans and livestock than Wolves do. Domestic dogs kill alot more livestock and an average of 20 plus people every year in the US. Where is the legislation for these animals? Judy Boyle is an alarmist who doesn’t know what she is talking about. “People are now being threatened both physically and mentally”, by what? Did you have your red cape on Judy? Wolves have killed TWO people in North America in the last 110 years. How many tens of thousands of Wolves have humans killed in the last 110 years? Wolves are naturally shy of humans and anybody who uses alittle common sense and gives these animals the respect that they deserve has nothing to fear. Wolves DO NOT present any clear and present danger to humans. Humans present a much bigger danger to Wolves (look at the mortality statistics since 1900 in North America) and Bears, Lions and Dogs are a MUCH BIGGER threat to humans than Wolves are. Hate, ignorance, intolerance and prejudice are rural characteristics that make us look like a bunch of hicks and rednecks to the rest of the world. When we treat animals the same way that we did 400 years ago (immorally, unethically, inhumanely with hate, intolerance and prejudice) it’s no wonder we are viewed with such hate and contempt (just like we view Wolves).

  6. A study out of Alberta shows the effects of non-confirmed depredation. This study confirms monetary effects on the rancher by this animal! Wolves have been a disaster!

  7. Mikey (aka reality 22), Canada has COMPLETELY different conditions than the NRM and GLR. Open range grazing in primarily heavily forested areas for six months out of the year. There are some areas like that in the NRM but most situations are different so the comparison isn’t valid (as you well know). Canada also has a MUCH larger Wolf population than the US- excluding Alaska (more than five times as many Wolves) and despite these facts, Wolves still account for less than 1% of all livestock losses in Canada (same percentage- less than 1% – as the US). Your hate, intolerance and ignorance of Wolves essential place in a healthy ecosystem is once again demonstrated by your deliberate misinterpretation of this study and your denial of the facts. Shame, Shame, Shame Mikey !

  8. Hahahaha …hahaha funny funny funny!

    To think that Canadian wolves act differently when brought to the US is absurd!! The experts say that the density of wolves in the NRM and GLR are now some of the highest in the world! Canada has 100 times the amount of wolf habitat the the US (lower 48) yet only less than 10 times the wolves! Some people need a lession in math! They are also allowed to shoot them on demand!

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