February 2, 2009 in Idaho

Idaho mulls offering ‘surplus’ wolves to other states

By The Spokesman-Review
Betsy Russell photo

As the Senate Resources Committee hears a briefing about wolves and considers a bill asking that “surplus” wolves in Idaho be transferred to other states, a large wolf pelt hangs on a wall behind them, brought by committee Chairman Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow. Shown here in front of the pelt is Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth.
(Full-size photo)

BOISE - Idaho would declare a surplus of wolves, and offer the extras to any state that wants them, under legislation that unanimously cleared the Senate Resources Committee this afternoon.

Then, if there were no takers, the state would be justified in killing the extras, Senate Resources Chairman Gary Schroeder told the panel.

“They have a very serious impact on our big game herds,” Schroeder said. “If somebody wants them, we have surplus animals, we can ship some to California or New York or whoever wants them,” he said. Those states would have to pay the costs to round up and ship the wolves, under the bill. If Idaho’s turned down by the other states, he said, “Then we need to kill some because nobody wants ‘em, and we can effectively say we offered them out and nobody wants them. … That’s all it is is strategy. It’s a strategy bill.”

Schroeder, a hide and fur dealer, brought a large wolf pelt to the committee hearing today and had it hung prominently on the wall as the committee prepared to hear the bill. “It’s called a prop,” Schroeder explained. “I put it in my truck and I brought it down.” Schroeder told the panel that the pelt is from a Canadian wolf. “These things can take down big animals,” he said.

Schroeder said his bill, SB 1015, would declare that Idaho has a surplus of wolves, and order the state Fish and Game Department, within 30 days of passage of the bill, to contact wildlife agencies in all 49 other states to offer up the spare wolves.

Canadian gray wolves in Idaho are protected under the Endangered Species Act, but their recovery since listing has far exceeded goals. The state now has at least 824 wolves, Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen told the committee, with 88 confirmed packs and 38 breeding pair.

The bill won the committee’s unanimous support on a voice vote, and now moves to the full Senate.

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