Idaho Governor Rejects ESA Wolf Management

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In another salvo of the wolf-wars, Idaho's Governor Otter has ordered state wildlife managers to “relinquish their duty to arrest poachers or to even investigate when wolves are killed illegally.” Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Idaho wildlife officials are the “designated agent” for investigating wolf deaths in the state. has a more detailed story about the Governor's orders, specifically: This means Idaho Department of Fish and Game managers will no longer perform statewide monitoring for wolves, conduct investigations into illegal killings, provide law enforcement when wolves are poached or participate in a program that responds to livestock depredations.

With U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy's ruling in August, Idaho and Montana have had to cancel public hunts. That's especially irked Otter, who contends the first legal harvest that started in 2009 and ended earlier this year demonstrated that states could manage wolves responsibly.

In an angry letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the Republican governor said withdrawing from wolf management will keep Idaho hunters and their money from subsidizing the federal program. "History will show that this program was a tragic example of oppressive, ham-handed 'conservation' at its worst," Otter wrote. "Idahoans have suffered this intolerable situation for too long, but starting today at least the state no longer will be complicit."


BikerRN's picture

Across The Bow

This may very well be the shot fired across the bow of federal imperialism over our western states.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

It is amazing to look at how

It is amazing to look at how quickly the wolves have spread and thrived.  Take a look at the Yellowstone elk herd to see evidence of that.  I don't remember the name, but there was a show on Nat Geo or something about a certain wolf pack that they followed.  Showed them killing elk, coyotes, challenging and eventually being driven out of the valley they had held since reintroduction.  It's worth an hour if you can find out what I am talking about.

And I agree with CVC and others.  This should be a state issue, plain and simple.

CVC's picture

It is just another example of

It is just another example of the federal government intrusion into what should be a state matter.  The states should be able to manage their wildlife.  it is also unfortunate that some animals are elevated to a mystical level by the non-hunting population.  Nothing more special about a wolf than say a rabbit, but people attribute something special, something spiritual and magical to them and thus want to protect them.  they ignore the destruction to livestock and overpopulation of them to the animal's and rancher's detriment.

Science and not emotion should dictate how an species is managed.

hawkeye270's picture

It is a very interesting

It is a very interesting strategy that he has decided to use. But like Cowgal said, I think he new what he was doing and that was his intention. I do not think that his order is the way to go about bringing forth the desired change (it is probably only going to make matters worse and make it less likely that the state will regain management of wolves in the near future) but atleast he is representing his constituents feelings. Hunters in Idaho are FURIOUS and if they were in the Governors shoes I don't think they would be taking the polite and politically correct path either. So even though I don't agree with his actions, atleast he is being true to those who he represents.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Hawkeye, U.S. Fish & Wildlife has already stepped in and taken over management of the wolves in Idaho.

Wolves in Idaho

I am sick and tired of the feds always trying to get into our lives about everything! They tell us they are going to bring wolves from Canada no less that aren't from around here and not native and the wolves destroy the live stock industry and the elk populations are terrible. Stay out of our lives! If I see an wolf...I will shoot it on sight!

cowgal's picture

I was surprised by the Idaho

I was surprised by the Idaho governor's statement as well. He most certainly has drawn attention to himself for scrutiny by the feds. But then - that may have been his intention. Idaho's game is in serious trouble from the unchecked killing by the wolves. I can only imagine how devastated folks in Idaho must be. I know how I would feel if our beloved elk and deer herds were decimated in Colorado. 

In the past there have been discussions about the wolf issue here on BGH. Do a search, you'll find many more articles and forum topics - many that got a bit heated! 

gatorfan's picture

Very interesting!


I haven't heard a single pro-hunter have anything good to say about the reintroduction of wolves (except from the wolf hunters).  I don't live in an area where wolves exist so I can only go by what I read and see on TV.  They seem to be a very destructive force on the elk, deer, and moose herds as well as livestock.

Now, the issue of Governor Otter's public admission of basically telling his wildlife officers to turn a blind eye when it comes to wolves being illegally killed, I think he should have kept that "in house".  In my opinion, he basically drew more (negative) attention to the issue than he should have.

I'm surprised there aren't more comments on this article from the hunters that live in these areas.

Very intersting wolves in Idaho

I don't agree with you...I am glad Otter did what he did. Get rid of these stinking things! They aren't native to this area! If they belonged here that woud be one thing but they don't! Keep the feds out of our state and our lives!