Senate Resources Chairman Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, opening debate on SB 1305, the wolf-kill bill, said, “Senators, this is a bill that's caused a lot of tension. We have a serious problem in the state of Idaho with depredation.” He then yielded the remainder of opening debate to Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, a rancher and the bill's lead sponsor.
Siddoway began by disclosing his conflict of interest, under Senate rules, noting that he is a livestock operator. “This bill could have a direct impact on the profitability of our livestock operation,” he said. Siddoway told the Senate, “This really is about livestock and it's about domestic animals, it's not about wildlife.”
In the past week, comments from Congressman Mike Simpson, who wrote the legislation that got Idaho's wolves removed from the endangered species list, have suggested SB 1305 may go too far in exceeding the state's wolf management plan, possibly landing the animals back on the endangered list.
Siddoway said ranchers are suffering from wolf attacks on their livestock. “The killing is going on and on and on, on almost a daily basis,” Siddoway said. “We have literally a million cattle that are susceptible to wolves.” Another 350,000 head of sheep in Idaho also are vulnerable to wolves, he said. “I have personal knowledge about what's going on, as far as the depredation on my operation.” He reeled off a long list of names of other ranchers. “We're all susceptible to these,” Siddoway said. “All of us are telling the same story. Every one of these operations are suffering depredation from wolves.” As for government wolf-control efforts, he said, “It just ain't working.”