Protect Idaho's Wolves
Please don’t buy potatoes grown in Idaho until this state’s violence against wolves stops.
Contact: Gov. Butch Otter or call Gov. Otter at 208-334-2100 to sound off.Governor, respecting wolves and hating them isn’t the same.
Gov. Otter prepares to buy wolf tag and hunt this fall
By Rocky Barker
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter endorsed the 220-wolf limit set by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission and repeated his vow to go wolf hunting this fall.
The commission set the number lower than Idaho hunters and lawmakers had been pushing for in a effort to avoid an injunction that would stop the season by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy. Defenders of Wildlife said after the decision it would ask Molloy to stop the hunt while he decides on the lawsuit it and other groups have filed asking to put wolves in Idaho and Montana back on the Endangered Species list. (cont.)
“I understand the commission’s conservative and thoughtful action that they took because obviously we want to demonstrate we can manage them,” Otter said. “We also want to find out if we can manage them with our hunter community.”
Otter made national news in January of 2007 when he told a group of Idaho hunters on the Capitol steps, “I’m prepared to bid for the first ticket to shoot a wolf myself.” He said Wednesday in an interview he planned to buy an $11.75 tag along with thousands of Idaho hunters.
Otter said he shares the concerns of hunters that wolves are reducing elk populations in the state but he urged them to hold their anxieties in check.
“I believe that the fact we’re going to have a hunting season is important,” Otter said. “We’re going to be given a chance in this hunting season to demonstrate that we can be responsible and the feds are not going to have to come in and manage.”
Otter urged wolf advocates to remember how far the wolf population has come and the promises they made to westerners when they pushing reintroduction in the early 1990s. The original goal set in 1994 was 10 packs in each of three states or about 120 wolves.
“We exceeded their proposed numbers and they were the ones that set those numbers, we didn’t,” Otter said. “In fact our number in 94 was zero.”
Now wolves exceed 1,000 in Idaho alone and they have migrated as far away as Colorado as well as to all of the states surrounding Idaho.
Otter plans to hunt elk and deer in the Lime Creek drainage near his Pine cabin and around the Lemhi County hunting camp of his friend, Department of Administration director, Mike Gwartney.
“They’ve spotted a lot of wolves so I suspect that as we go headed out for elk camp we’ll make sure that everyone that wants one has a wolf tag,” Otter said.
Otter said for many hunters, wolves will be respected as a trophy, which is what the state designates them. That respect will grow over time.
“I think everybody respects them,” Otter said. “You can still hate them and respect their cunning and their place in nature.
“I’m not real fond of rattlesnakes but I understand their place in the system.”
For the full interview read Thursday’s Idaho Statesman.
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