On Tuesday, Gov. Butch Otter signed a bill that would essentially allow him to declare a disaster due to the state’s wolf population, even as the animals are in the process from being removed the endangered species list.

The fight over wolves and their spot on the endangered species list took an interesting turn a few weeks ago when Rep. Mike Simpson inserted language to de-list the animals into a spending bill. While this subject has been the subject of a lengthy court battle, the language Simpson inserted into the federal appropriation is not subject to judicial review, meaning that de-listing is almost guaranteed.

At least one conservation group, Defenders of Wildlife, opposed Simpson’s move and said that it’s an example of lawmakers playing politics with wolf populations.

The main backer of the state bill that Otter signed, Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, says the disaster declaration bill is still relevant because the state will be on probation for wolf management for the five years after de-listing.  She also said that congressional uncertainty creates the need for the bill.

“What one Congress gives, one Congress can take away,” warned Boyle.  “We never know what the federal government will do and it’s notorious for going back on its word.”

The Midvale Republican says that the state could still lose its authority to oversee wolves if the federal government feels mistakes are made in the process.

Boyle sees the law as one that will promote state sovereignty and help the governor push back against the federal government when necessary.  “I’m thrilled he signed it,” Boyle exclaimed.  “This gives the governor the power to do as he sees fit without having to worry about the federal government.”

In his press release about the bill signing, Otter didn’t sound too thrilled about approving the measure.  He expressed concern that the measure is unneeded because the governor is already allowed to declare disasters when he deems it appropriate.

He also said that the bill does nothing to change the wolf situation for Idaho residents.  “Idahoans should know they have always been able to kill a wolf in self defense or in the defense of other humans,” said Otter in the statement.  “That has not changed, nor is this legislation or a disaster declaration necessary for anyone to protect themselves or other people from wolves in any part of the state.”

Even with a reluctant governor signing off on the bill, Boyle is happy with the approval.  “This is putting people above species,” she concluded.


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About The Author

Dustin Hurst serves as the Communication Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation. He graduated from Boise State in 2009. His work has been featured by Fox News, Townhall, Public Sector Inc., the Daily Caller, Reason, Human Events, the Spokesman Review and more. He and his wonderful wife Julia have two cute kids. The family resides in Middleton.


  1. Well, isn’t this special. I do hope that this uneducated human and his cronies, feel will manly enough now.

  2. Were you, Kerry B. living within one of those hunting units most affected by these land piranhas you’d think differently on the signing of this bill. We do. And are hearing reports of them often and of the awful menace they are, most especially to our children.

  3. We live here on the south border of yellowstone, by Ashton…To all those that supported wolf introduction to The Western states….You should be held responsible for this wildlife disaster…Wolves have destroyed our Elk and Moose herds…Yellowstone “The Jewel of our nation” has been destroyed..Don’t take my word for it, come and see for yourself..Just for once listen to those that live here,ask us we’ll show you..Defenders of wildlife should be forced to replace the wildlife that was lost including all those that supported their adgenda…..

  4. before wolves were brought to us in yellowstone park the elk population was estimated at 19,000. ten years later it was cut in half and now another five years later it is down to 4,700. the plus side of that according to the u.s. govt is that now the cottonwood seedlings are growing up. i wonder how many people will drive a couple thousand miles to watch the cottonwoods grow. i can assure they will not be able to watch as a pack of wolves destroy a herd of elk, it is ugly and so totally unnessary. the introduction, not re-introduction of these killers is another example of the govt meddling where it should not. what are we to do now about the diseases they were warned about but chose to ignore? shame on banks and judge malloy. between the two of them they have caused one of the worst environmental disasters in our history.

  5. To all of you who just think those cute little wolves deserve a place in my back yard–you are idiots.
    I live in the Idaho panhandle and had a wold less than 50 feet from my back door–my wife can no longer go for walks unless she carries my .357 mag.
    The wolf that was dropped in our lap is the CANADIAN TIMBER WOLF—they get close to 200 lbs and and make the wolf that used to be here look like a Cocker Spanial compared to a German Shepard.
    I have a neoghbor who lost 5 calves to wolves and he has proof–he set up a trail camer after they killed 3 and watched as the last two were killed. The Fish and Game told him there was NOTHING they could do.
    We life in the 3s zone–for you tree huggers that means Shoot-Shoval $ Shut up.
    We have Elk around us and NO NEW CALVES–do you want to know why–the WOLVES are getting them as fast as they hit the ground (from birth) they dont stand a chance–why dont you wolf lovers care about the Elk—they are a beautiful animal and need to be protected from WOLVES—
    These WOLVES need to be exterminated–they didnt belong here–they never lived here and thats just the way it is–kinda like you tree huggers and animal rights waccos–you come from God knows where and you want to protect something that you know nothing about —-it just makes you feel sooooo good–well what is going to happen when a child is grabbed by a WOLF–what will you say then–OH ! Im so sorry—its too late then –wake up – stop crying about the poor WOLVES and educate yourself about the damege to the Deer ,Elk ,Moose and livestiock that they are killing.
    Better yet why dont you volunteer to go out in the wilderness and help with WOLF population counts and maybe see first hand the carnage you and the idiots in Washington,D.C. have unleashed on Idah and the sourrounding states–and maybe you?????????

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