Friday, March 2, 2012

Wolf bill withdrawn

Legislation could have threatened species status


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

A bill that would have given ranchers unprecedented ability to kill wolves was withdrawn by its sponsor in the Legislature on Wednesday after testimony suggesting the bill could return wolves to federal protection.

The bill, S1305, would have allowed ranchers with certain permits to shoot wolves from vehicles, helicopters and even powered parachutes if the animals had been preying on their livestock.

Ranchers would have needed to carry out these civilian control actions within 36 hours of the depredation. After 36 hours, ranchers would have been required to get a permit before having 60 days to carry out these actions.

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Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, noted that the bill he sponsored would allow the use of live bait—for example, his wife's dog, Sophie, which he said he would chain in a corral and surround with leghold traps and electronic wolf calls to catch unsuspecting wolves.

The Idaho Conservation League testified that the bill was in direct opposition to Idaho's 2002 Wolf Management Plan, the basis for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's determination that the state could safely manage wolf populations.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Siddoway said U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, had warned that the bill could allow wolf-advocate groups to petition to have wolves returned to federal protection.

Siddoway asked to have the bill held in the Senate Resources and Environment Committee. If it is not returned to the Senate floor by the end of the session, it will die there.




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