On Thursday a federal judge in Montana ruled that wolves in that state and Idaho must be put back on the endangered species list, effectively ending the prospects of a second year of wolf hunting in Idaho.  Shortly after the decision was rendered, politicians around the state quickly fired off press statements condemning the ruling.  Each of the statements said that Idaho should have the right to manage its own wolf population.

In a joint statement, Idaho’s congressional delegation said that wolf management is a states’ rights issue.  Here’s what Sen. Mike Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch, Rep. Mike Simpson, and Rep. Walt Minnick had to say about the ruling:

This decision is disappointing.  Judge Molloy ignored the exploding population of wolves in Idaho and the constitutional 10thAmendment right of a state to manage its own wildlife populations.  The recovery goals set when the wolf was introduced have been met and greatly exceeded.  We remain convinced Idaho can manage wolves in a sustainable and responsible way, just as it has done with other species for decades.  We look for a more reasonable decision from a higher court.

Gov. Butch Otter also chimed in on the re-listing of wolves and promised a legal challenge to the outcome.  Here’s Otter’s full statement:

I am thoroughly disappointed and frustrated with the court’s decision today returning wolves to federal protection. Idaho has done everything asked of us by the federal government in order to delist wolves in our state and restore state management. The State of Idaho, through the Office of Species Conservation and Department of Fish and Game, proved to be an effective and responsible steward of the species under a plan praised by this very court. This judge has inexplicably dismissed a practical, common-sense solution and proven the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is irreparably broken. The number of wolves in Idaho today is almost triple the population necessary for delisting throughout all three states. I don’t know why any state would ever allow another reintroduction of a species because the federal government and radical environmentalists simply cannot live up to their word and allow state management.

Rest assured we will exhaust all of our options to legally reverse this ill-advised decision. Today’s decision should stand as an indictment of both the ESA and federal government.

The man trying to unseat Otter in the fall also offered his take on the situation.  Here’s what Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred had to say Thursday:

Idaho had an approved plan that met the federal Fish and Wildlife Service’s litmus test for a strong, state-run management plan. I don’t understand why a gray wolf population that is growing faster than anyone expected would be re-listed under the ESA.  Idaho can and should manage its own wolf population.

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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. Before their heads explode any further, the politicians should all get on the phone with Wyoming, which CAN’T manage its portion of the wolf population.

  2. […] is responding to several events in August he disagreed with.  The governor condemned an Aug. 5 decision by a federal judge to put Idaho’s wolves back on the endangered species […]

  3. […] along with other top elected officials, panned the court decision that ended Idaho’s management of wolves and has taken several steps to reverse the impact of the […]

  4. […] Idaho’s two Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are backing two different plans that would strip federal protections for wolves in Idaho.  Wolves returned to the federal endangered species act after an August court ruling that many Idaho elected officials criticized. […]

  5. Wolves should not be “managed” by states that want to exterminate them!!!

    Reinstating the endangered species act for wolves was necessary and timely. Idaho, Montana, Wyoming were ready for a bloodbath. Idaho officials had announced that they would allow hunters to shoot and kill up to 25% of the wolves in the state during that hunting season alone. The state also indicated that it planned to sell an estimated 70,000 permits to hunt wolves that year — 70 wolf-killing permits for each of the 1,000 wolves estimated to live in Idaho!

    What an awful way to “manage” such an important species that has so recently been restored to the American landscape.

    Wolves should not be “managed” by states that want to exterminate them!!!

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