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HB 156: Killing more rattlesnakes — 2023

Summary: HB 156 would add rattlesnakes to the list of predatory wildlife, allowing unregulated hunting.

ICL's position: Oppose

Current Bill Status: Law

Issue Areas: Fish and Wildlife, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Official Legislative Site

Idaho Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Moyle (R-Star) and Rep. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale) introduced House Bill 156, which adds Rattlesnakes to the list of predatory wildlife in the state of Idaho. If passed, you’d still need a hunting license, but the current bag limit of 4 rattlesnakes would be removed, and you could kill as many rattlesnakes as you could get your hands on.

While the majority of Idahoans try to avoid rattlesnakes when out working or recreating, they are native to Idaho, help control rodent populations, and are an important part of the ecosystem. Rattlesnakes help keep populations in check by preying upon small mammals like prairie dogs, voles, shrews, ground squirrels, small rabbits, mice, rats, ground nesting birds, and sometimes even other snakes.

To boot, they take 5 years to reach sexual maturity, and overwinter in dens with dozens or even hundreds of other snakes (one Idaho study reportedly found 1,200 in a den). Because they can migrate miles to reach these hibernacula, and each snake’s habitat covers up to 25 square miles, you could eliminate snakes in one fell swoop across thousands of acres of Idaho, leading to an explosion of other pests

Finally, there does not appear to be any pressing reason to add rattlesnakes to the list of predators, which also includes coyotes, jackrabbits, skunk, weasel, starling, and raccoon. The Fish and Game Commission, which manages fish and wildlife in Idaho for the benefit of the citizens of the state, has not requested this legislation and it’s not driven by science.

In most instances, rattlesnakes will generally avoid you, if you avoid them. Perhaps that’s advice that Reps. Moyle and Boyle should heed?

Take action for this native species today by clicking the button below, and contact your Senator and ask them to vote NO on House Bill 156!