Friday, December 27, 2013

Predator contest suit to be heard today

Opponents contend special-use permit is required

Express Staff Writer

A coyote hunts for rodents in Sun Valley.
Express photo by Roland Lane

A telephonic conference was scheduled for 9:30 this morning, Dec. 27, to hear a motion seeking a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court in Pocatello to stop a wolf- and coyote-killing contest from taking place near Salmon this weekend.
    The contest, hosted by a statewide hunters organization called Idaho for Wildlife, is offering $1,000 prizes for the biggest wolf killed and for the most coyotes killed.
    In a court case filed Monday, a coalition of five environmental and wildlife-advocacy groups contended that Salmon-Challis National Forest Supervisor Charles Mark acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner when he decided not to require Idaho for Wildlife to obtain a special-use permit for the contest. Such permits are required for commercial activities taking place on public land.
    In an apparent response to the lawsuit, Idaho for Wildlife has changed its $20 entry fee for the contest to a $20-or-more “voluntary donation.” However, forest Ecosystem Staff Officer Stefani Spencer said that whether an entry fee is charged or a donation requested would make little difference in determining if a special-use permit is required.
    Spencer said Mark decided not to require a permit from the contest organizer because the only activity occurring on the national forest—hunting—is of a non-commercial nature. She said the commercial part of the contest—the judging—will occur on private land.
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