Letters From the West

Defenders of Wildlife sues to stop Idaho wilderness wolf killing

 Gus Thoreson, a hunter hired by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, rides in December into Cabin Creek from Flying B Ranch on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. PROVIDED BY ISAAC BABCOCK / HOBBIT HILL FILMS


Gus Thoreson, a hunter hired by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, rides in December into Cabin Creek from Flying B Ranch on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
PROVIDED BY ISAAC BABCOCK / HOBBIT HILL FILMS

Defenders of Wildlife and other groups filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the Forest Service’s assistance to a hunter-trapper hired to exterminate two wolf packs in the Frank Church River-of-No-Return Wilderness.

Tim Preso, an attorney with Earthjustice in Bozeman, Mont., filed the lawsuit after the Idaho Department of Fish and Game hired a hunter-trapper and put him up in a Cabin Creek cabin owned by the Forest Service. The lawsuit, filed with U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge, says the Forest Service allowed the Fish and Game to carry out the wolf killing without meeting the requirements of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the National Environmental Policy Act.

“A wilderness is supposed to be a wild place governed by natural conditions, not an elk farm,” said Preso.

Earthjustice is representing Idaho conservationist and wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan along with three conservation groups — Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project and Wilderness Watch.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/01/07/2960859/wildlife-groups-sue-over-hunter.html#storylink=cpy

“This wilderness was created to be a sanctuary for wildlife,” said Suzanne Asha Stone, a Defenders of Wildlife Representative in Boise. “For me personally, and the people we represent, its not truly wilderness without wolves.”

Fish and Game said it needed to kill two of six packs of wolves to allow elk numbers to increase. Hunters have not been able to reduce the wolves in the area alone because it is so hard to access.

Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West