Idaho Commission Wants Lead in Wolf Management

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Idaho should remain in the lead role in managing wolves despite their return to endangered species status, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission decided Monday, August 16.

But commissioners want a new agreement with the federal government for lead management to include some changes to restrict the use of license dollars from being used on wolf management and to reflect state priorities better.

The commission adopted a resolution that calls for actions in response to the recent federal court decision that returned gray wolves in the Northern Rockies to the endangered species list, including:

1. Remaining ready to resume state management when wolves are again removed from Endangered Species Act protection.

2. Working with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's office and Idaho's congressional delegation on federal legislation to solve this problem.

3. Supporting an appeal of the court decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

4. Pursuing all options to get wolves off the endangered species list and to reestablish a public hunting season.

Commissioners also considered the role the state should play in wolf management while wolves in Idaho are back on the endangered species list and how best to protect the interests of Idaho hunters and others who depend on elk and other wild ungulates, livestock owners and pet owners from the negative effects of wolf predation.

The commission confronted the choice of retaining responsibility for management with little authority while wolves are under federal protection or leaving Idaho interests in the hands of federal managers.

The commission resolution is available on the Fish and Game Website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/.