Idaho Lawmakers Push Forward Wolf Control Funding
February 21, 2014
A committee in the Idaho House approved legislation that calls for using $2 million in state money to create a special board designed specifically to fund lethal wolf control efforts in that state. Members of the House Resources and Conservation Committee voted 14-4 on Feb. 17 to send the bill to the full House with a "do-pass" recommendation. The $2 million is meant to last five years, and livestock producers and sportsmen will each chip in $110,000 annually.
Federal funding for the control of problem wolves in Idaho has declined by about $630,000 annually in recent years and supporters of the bill say it's necessary to ensure Idaho can continue to control wolves that take heavy tolls on livestock and wildlife. About 50 people testified during the 2 1/2-hour public hearing and testimony was about equal for and against the bill. Ranchers told lawmakers they desperately need help to control problem wolves.
Matt Thompson, a livestock producer in east Idaho, said the plan is critical to ensure adequate funding for Idaho Wildlife Services, the USDA agency tasked with managing problem wolves. Bill supporters said the loss of federal funding has significantly limited Wildlife Services' ability to control depredating wolves.