Idaho predator hunting derby permit canceled
Published: November 25, 2014 8:44AM
The Bureau of Land Management has pulled a permit it had previously approved for a controvertial Idaho hunting derby, based in Salmon, awarding prizes for killing wolves and other predators.
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The Bureau of Land Management has canceled a five-year permit it had approved earlier in November to allow a Salmon-based competition awarding prizes to hunters who harvest predators, including wolves.
A BLM spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday morning on the reason for canceling the permit for the derby, organized by Idaho for Wildlife, but she said the agency would issue a statement later in the day.
Immediately after the special recreation permit was approved, a coalition of conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit alleging the BLM failed to include a necessary Environmental Impact Statement. Opponents have also raised public safety concerns.
BLM reasoned in its permit filing that no EIS was necessary since the event didn’t constitute “a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment or causing unnecessary or undue degradation of the natural environment.”
BLM also said hunters would be dispersed throughout the Salmon, Challis and Upper Snake BLM field offices during the three-day event, which would begin Jan. 2.
“BLM’s first ever approval of a wolf hunting derby on public lands undercuts wolf recovery efforts, so it’s good they canceled this permit, Laird Lucas, an attorney with Advocates for the West, said in a press release.
Up to 500 hunters would have been allowed to participate, claiming prizes for predators killed on BLM, U.S. Forest Service and private land. For the initial hunt last year, applicants failed to apply for a BLM permit in time, but the hunt went forward, with prizes offered on Forest Service and private land. Environmentalists lost a court challenge last winter against the Forest Service’s policy of not requiring a permit for such events, but they’ve included the agency as a defendant again in their most recent lawsuit.
Twenty-one coyotes, but no wolves, were harvested during the first hunting derby.
On the event website, organizers argue the event provides an avenue for rural residents and hunters to respond to losses caused by wolves.
“On a personal level, many of these rural folks not only feel the pinch of losing real value from livestock losses (but also) reduction in their outfitting businesses and inability to provide their families a winter meat source,” the statement reads.
http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20141 ... t-canceled