SB 1039: Making Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board Permanent – 2019
ICL's position: Oppose
Current Bill Status: Law
Issue Areas: Fish and Wildlife
Senate Bill 1039 would remove the sunset provision for the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board, making the program permanent. This move comes despite the fact that of 41,000 cattle deaths in Idaho, only .5 percent were attributed to wolves and only 6 percent of livestock operations experience attacks from predators.
In 2014, the Idaho Legislature established the wolf control board with the goal of carrying out lethal control of wolves. Funds are contributed by the livestock industry, sportsmen (via Idaho Department of Fish and Game) and from Idaho taxpayers. To date, taxpayers have contributed $2 million to the fund and the board has contracted with USDA Wildlife Services to kill 262 wolves. That amounts to more than $7,000 per wolf.
Despite assertions to the contrary, the board does not only target problem wolves that have preyed on livestock. Instead, they’ve also used the funds to eliminate entire packs in the backcountry forests of Idaho.
ICL opposes the bill because it manages wolves differently than all other species in the state. However, we feel the bill could, at least, be improved by adding “non-lethal control” as one of the options for the board to consider to prevent potential conflicts and reduce depredation on livestock.