Idaho’s first sanctioned wolf hunt this past winter may have been its last, because a federal judge in Montana put wolves back on the endangered species list.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ruled that the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) erred in separating the wolf populations of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming and then delisting wolves in Idaho and Montana.  That FWS decision led to those two states issuing permits to hunt wolves.

“We’re overjoyed that the wolf hunt in Montana and Idaho won’t go forward this fall,” said Jenny Harbine, an attorney with EarthJustice, a non-profit firm that represented 13 conservation groups that sued the FWS.  “The court ruled that the federal government violated the law when it eliminated protections for wolves in the northern Rockies.”

"We're frustrated; we're angry; we're disappointed," Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) Deputy Director Jim Unsworth said. "We've played by the rules, but his decision allows procedural technicalities to overcome sound science and common sense."

Harbine said state agencies such as IDFG have been too aggressive in killing wolves and that wolf populations aren’t yet back to sustainable levels.  Conservation groups and IDFG disagree on how many wolves are needed for them to survive in the wild.

It’s unclear what the state’s response to the judge’s ruling will be.  The Idaho Fish and Game Commission was scheduled to set quotas for the next wolf hunt during a meeting this month, but its agenda will likely change.

“We’re extremely disappointed with the judge’s decision,” said Wayne Wright of Twin Falls, the chairman of the commission.  He said IDFG and the state government need to decide what the next steps to take to manage Idaho’s wolves will be.  “Our desire, as a fish and game department and as commissioners, would be to manage the wildlife that we’ve been entrusted with in the state of Idaho.  This makes it very difficult for us.”

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by animalbeachtowels, said: Idaho wolves back on federal endangered species list […]

  2. We can not win in the Federal law system inundated with liberal activist judges. The sooner we begin using the state option of nullification against the unconstitutional mandates, regulations, and rules of usurping Federal agencies, the sooner the wolves will be gone.

  3. How many other animals must be sacrificed for this foreign animal? The grey canadien wolf is not, nor has it ever been a native species of Idaho. The TIMBER wolf was our native species, a wolf about half the size of the grey canadien. Where are all the environmentalists avocating for our native species?

  4. […] wolves in Idaho.  Commissioners were scheduled to set the quota for this winter’s wolf hunt, but a U.S. district judge’s ruling earlier this month halted Idaho’s hunt.  The commission ended up unanimously approved a resolution calling for the state to appeal the […]

  5. I live in Washington state and I am stoked that you guys won’t be able to hunt any wolves regardless of species. Wolves are important to the ecosystem. Wolves are the reason that you all have a healthy elk and deer population to hunt. Call me a treehugging liberal all you want, but the wolves need to be left alone.

  6. […] Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are asking the U.S. Department of the Interior to appeal a district court decision that ended Idaho’s sanctioned wolf hunt and put gray wolves back on the endangered species […]

  7. […] shelved this year’s wolf hunt due to a court decision in Montana earlier this month.  A federal judge ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was wrong in removing wolves in […]

  8. […] officials are seeking to resume hunting alternatives on the gray wolves despite the packs being relisted for protections under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).  In August of 2010, US District Judge Donald Molloy ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) erred […]

  9. […] was one of several groups that won a lawsuit in August putting Idaho’s wolves back on the endangered species list and under federal protection.  Schlickeisen said Defenders will continue to work with ranchers to […]

  10. […] has received plenty of mail from Idaho since an Aug. 5 court decision put wolves in Idaho and Montana back on the endangered species list.  Otter sent him a letter and […]

  11. […] was one of several groups that won a lawsuit in August putting Idaho’s wolves back on the endangered species list and under federal protection.  Schlickeisen said Defenders will continue to work with ranchers to […]

  12. […] Butch Otter, Idaho state agency leaders, and all of Idaho’s members of Congress have panned a court decision putting wolves back on the endangered species list, and taken steps to urge federal official to resolve the situation.  Many of the state lawmakers […]

  13. […] Otter sent a proposed memorandum of agreement (MOA) to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar outlining how the state and federal government would work together on wolves. The state lost its authority to manage wolves in an Aug. 5 court decision that put gray wolves back on the endangered species list. […]

  14. […] is joining Montana and the U.S. Department of the Interior in formally appealing an August court decision that ended Idaho’s wolf hunt and wolf management and put wolves back on the endangered […]

  15. […] A federal judge ruled in August that the administrative decision separating Idaho and Montana’s wolf populations from Wyoming’s wolves was illegal. That decision ended state management of wolves in Idaho and Montana, which included sanctioned wolf hunts. […]

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  17. […] protections for wolves in Idaho.  Wolves returned to the federal endangered species act after an August court ruling that many Idaho elected officials […]

  18. This is for Iris,

    We don’t have healthy elk populations thanks to the wolves. I don’t know where you got your facts, but having grey wolves shoved into our deer and elk populations does NOT make those numbers stay healthy. I go deer hunting nearly every year, and the past 2 years I haven’t seen ANY elk whatsoever in areas where we would see herds of 20 up easy, and finding a deer wasn’t so easy thanks to the wolves either.

  19. Healthy elk and deer populations are you kidding me!!! I live right outside of Wallace and just in the last week we have had wolves kill 2 deer that we know of. Our neighbors seen 2 huge wolves tear apart a doe what if that would have been a kid! I don’t even want to let my dogs out to use the bathroom let alone my grandkids to go sledding, something has to be done! We are going to have to put the elk and deer on the endangered species list.

  20. […] of its wolf population and bring back federal protections. Last August, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy in Montana sided with the conservation groups. Earlier this year, 10 of the 14 groups, including Defenders, signed onto a settlement with the […]

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