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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 10 - 16 , 2002

  News

Permits allow ranchers to shoot problem wolves


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week issued four permits to ranchers in the East Fork of the Salmon River valley allowing ranchers to shoot and kill a wolf if it is on their property. Theyíre the first permits of their kind issued in Idaho.

"I donít suspect that this will result in the death of many wolves," said Carter Niemeyer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Idaho wolf recovery leader. "Itís going to be a very opportunistic situation for a rancher to see a wolf in broad daylight that they can kill."

Because wolves are federally protected, it is illegal to kill a wolf unless it is in the act of attacking livestock or if permission is granted through a permit.

This type of permit has been used in Wyoming for several years, Niemeyer said. However, no wolf has ever been killed using this type of permit.

They are available only to livestock producers who have experienced "chronic wolf depredations," and they expire 45 days after they are issued.

"Weíre looking at any livestock producer in the Idaho recovery area who has had previous wolf depredations in past years on their private property, and I emphasize private property," Niemeyer said. "I can think of only about a dozen families in Idaho who would qualify."

At least one alternative to killing of wolves has met with only marginal success.

Non-lethal rounds, which are meant to haze wolves rather than kill them, have been issued to any ranchers requesting them.

An Idaho rancher near Salmon, who shot wolves with rubber bullets, later ended up with repeated depredations. In another case, a Yellowstone-area rancher successfully shot a wolf using a bean bag round.

"It knocked the wolf unconscious. It got up, ran in a few circles and ran off. It seemed to work," Niemeyer said. "The guy reported that he didnít see it around any more."

 


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.