Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is en route back from a two-hour meeting this morning in Denver with the governors of Montana and Wyoming and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, which Otter attended at Salazar’s invitation. Otter in October pulled his state out of participating in wolf management, turning all duties over to federal authorities and saying Idaho wouldn’t participate if it couldn’t hold a wolf hunt. “Nobody’s talking about eliminating these animals - our position has been biological stability,” said Otter’s spokesman, Jon Hanian. “We feel we’ve more than reached that, and the problem is that it’s being legislated in the courts. I think that’s why we’ve reached the impasse we currently find ourselves in.”
Idaho and Montana conducted successful state-regulated wolf hunts in the past year while their wolves were off the endangered species list, but a federal judge’s ruling halted plans for another wolf hunt in the two states this fall. Hanian said Otter made it clear when he ended Idaho’s role in wolf management that “we’re open to any discussion that would further Idaho’s efforts to have a hunting season, because we think that’s an integral part of successful management.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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