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Idaho wolves back on federal endangered species list

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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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  2. Pete

    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. Tiffany Gratteau

    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?

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  5. Iris

    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.

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  17. Kyle

    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.

  18. Bette

    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.

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