Dave & Dujanovic: Humane Society calls Idaho wolf hunt a ‘death warrant for wolves’
May 12, 2021, 3:24 PM | Updated: 3:28 pm
(Jacob W. Frank/National Park Service via AP)
SALT LAKE CITY — Idaho is acting to greatly reduce the population of wolves in the state. But is hunting and killing the predator necessary for livestock or cruel and vicious?
New Idaho wolves hunting law
Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed into law a bill, widely backed by hunters and the state’s powerful ranching sector, which could lead to killing 90% of the state’s 1,500 wolves.
The law also expands the way wolves can be hunted and killed. Those methods include hunting, trapping and snaring an unlimited number of wolves with a single hunting tag, using night-vision equipment, chasing down wolves on snowmobiles and ATVs and shooting them from helicopters. Also under the new law, newborn pups can be killed if they are found on private land, according to the Idaho State Journal.
Amanda Wight of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss why the HSUS is calling the new law a “death warrant for wolves.”
“The methods that are allowed under this new law are just horrific and devastating . . . shooting from helicopters, aerial gunning, shooting mothers and pups in their dens. It’s just horrific,” Wight said.
“Is it too cruel, though, or is it any different than any other kind of hunting?” Dave asked.
“Yeah, I think the methods do matter. . . . Poisoning and snaring, they lead to really cruel deaths. They can take a long time to die in those snares, and they don’t always. They’re just incredibly injured until the tracker comes along to kill them. Yeah, so it just crosses an ethical line,” said Wight.
‘Significant threat’ to Idaho wolves
“Is there any plan in place right now to go to the governor’s office and have a conversation with lawmakers in Idaho to repeal this law before it takes effect?” Debbie asked.
“Right now we’re exploring all of our options. The US Fish and Wildlife Service does have the authority to consider new threats to Idaho’s wolves and potentially restore federal endangered species act protections if necessary,” Wight said.
She added the new law does pose a significant threat to Idaho’s wolf population and could trigger a review and relisting of the wolf as an endangered species by the the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
“How much of the wolves affected the deer and elk populations and livestock in Idaho? Dave asked.
“The biggest impact they have on on deer and elk is keeping those populations healthy,” Wight said. “They typically go after the weak and the old and the sick. They really keep those populations healthy and robust. They can help mitigate the spread of diseases.”
She said between 2019 to 2020 the USDA Wildlife Services recorded a little over 100 attacks on livestock by wolves in Idaho, adding that at the start of 2020 there were more than 2.7 million cattle and sheep in the state.
“Killing wolves doesn’t reduce those rare conflicts that do occur. Non-lethal methods like having livestock guardian dogs or range riders is much more effective at preventing those conflicts,” Wight said.
Wolves manage themselves
“Could the wolves just be left as they are because it sounds like they are multiplying? Is there a number that would suffice and the Humane Society’s point of view where a compromise could be reached?” Debbie asked.
“Wolves really manage their own populations just fine based on available prey and habitat. And so there’s really just no need to externally manage them through hunting and trapping,” Wight said.
“Does the Humane Society of the United States support any kind of wildlife control, whether it’s wolves or deer or elk?” Dave asked.
“We do not take a position on subsistence hunting, but when it comes to trophy hunting native carnivores where the primary motivation is for a trophy or for bragging rights, and not for food, we’re very much against that,” Wight said. “Whether it’s wolves or mountain lions, as I mentioned before, scientifically there’s really no need to manage them that way. They do manage their own population and killing them won’t have the desired effects of boosting deer and elk populations or reducing livestock conflicts.”
Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.
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