Letters From the West

Otter calls for spending $2 million for Idaho wolf control board

Wolf B2 leaves his kennel at Corn Creek in 1995, running into the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

Wolf B2 leaves his kennel at Corn Creek in 1995, running into the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter called for spending $2 million Monday to establish a Wolf Control Fund to reduce wolf numbers in the state.

The fund would be managed by a state board separate from the Idaho Fish and Game Game Commission. Annual funding would come from $110,000 raised by the livestock industry and matching amount that would come from hunting license dollars.

“This three-pronged approach will provide the revenue needed to more effectively control Idaho’s burgeoning wolf population and ease the impact on our livestock and wildlife,” Otter said in his State of the State address.

His comments come after the federal Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service Agency lost $750,000 in funds since 2010. It has done most of the wolf control until recently.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game also has bee criticized for hiring a hunter-trapper to exterminate two packs in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Several wildlife groups were expected to file a lawsuit to stop the killing as early as today.

“With your unflinching support, we were able to fight through the opposition of those who would make Idaho into a restricted-use wildlife refuge and take back control of these predators from our federal landlords,” Otter said. “We’re managing them now, and they’re a trophy hunting species.

“But the population is still growing, and our resources remain at risk.”

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