Public Hearing on Governor Otter’s “Wolf Control Board” on Monday. Updated

The proponents’ expressed intent is for the Wolf Control Board to reduce the Idaho wolf population to 150 wolves.
See update at bottom

A public hearing is scheduled for Monday at the Idaho State Capitol in Boise on Governor Otter’s “Wolf Control Board” bill HB470 which establishes a board which would composed solely of people appointed by the Governor.

The membership of the board shall consist at all times of members representing the following executive agencies and interests:
(a) The director of the department of agriculture;
(b) The director of the department of fish and game;
(c) A member representative of sportsmen’s interests;
(d) A member representative of the livestock industry; and
(e) A member of the public at large, not to exclude any person who may have sportsmen or livestock interests.

The Committee will be taking public testimony on the bill and people who plan to attend should arrive early to be sure that their testimony will be heard.  Those who cannot attend can listen to audio from the House Resources and Conservation Committee.

What: Resource and Conservation Committee Public Hearing for HB 470
When: Monday February 17th at 1:30pm
Where: Idaho State Capitol
Room EW40
700 W Jefferson
Boise, ID 83720

As one of only three major issues Governor Otter proposed in his State of the State Address, the “Wolf Control Board” is clearly one of his highest priorities.

One form of growth we don’t want to encourage is in the wolf population that was imposed on us almost twenty years ago. With your unflinching support we were able to fight through the opposition of those who would make Idaho a restricted use wildlife refuge and take back control of these predators from our federal landlords. Now we’re managing them now, and they’re a trophy hunting species (sic), and the population is still growing, and our resources remain at risk.  So I’m calling for the establishment of a wolf control fund and a state board to direct and manage it. My budget recommendation that calls for a one-time allocation of two-million dollars to get the fund started. That base could be… would be augmented with continuing annual contributions of at least a hundred-and-ten-thousand dollars from the livestock industry and a matching amount from the Idaho sportsmen. This three-pronged approach will provide the revenues needed to effectively control Idaho’s burgeoning wolf population and ease the impact on our livestock and our wildlife. – Governor Clement Leroy “Butch” Otter at his January 6, 2014 State of the State Address

However, the Governor’s assertion that the wolf population is increasing is contradicted by monitoring conducted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game which shows that the population has declined by 30% since Idaho took over management of the species in 2009.  Mortality records obtained through public records requests and published on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game website indicate that the population is likely to fall to around 460 animals by the end of March 2014 just before female wolves begin denning activities.  Presently the population, based on the preliminary estimate of “less than 600” wolves at the end of December given to the legislature by Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologist Jeff Gould, is around 530 since about 70 wolves have been killed since then.

During the period from April 1, 2011 to the present 1,232 wolf mortalities have been documented by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.  98.1% (n=1,209) of those mortalities were human caused, 1.4%, (n=17) were unknown, and 0.5% (n=6) were natural.

Idaho Wolf Mortality-Population April 1, 2011 - March 31, 2014

The board would be started with $2 million from the General Fund and in subsequent years would be funded with $110,000 from the livestock industry and $110,000 from Idaho Department of Fish and Game license funds.

– – – – – – –

Updated on Feb. 18

So they held the hearing in the Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee. The committee then voted 14-4 on Monday, Feb. 17 to report  the bill out of committee. It now goes to the floor of the House. Of the 3 votes against it, three were Democrats and 1 was a Republican.

Media report that about 50 people testified. Their testimony was split about equally between pro and con. Here is a report from the Magic Valley Times News.  $2M Wolf Management Bill Moves to House Floor. By Kimberlee Kruesi.
Here is another story on the hearing. Full house for $2 million wolf control bill hearing… Posted by Betsy






  1. Grandma Gregg Avatar
    Grandma Gregg

    Re: The board appointees – talk about corruption!
    Can we make written email comments for this meeting? (too late to write a snail mail)

    1. Pamela W Avatar
      Pamela W

      You can submit comments by email to the committee as a whole at I recommend you do that rather than contact each committee member separately, which I think requires that you use their contact form and identify where you live. The contact form may even be unsubmittable if you have an address outside Idaho. That’s a common practice these days.

      In my experience, most of the legislators disregard comments even from Idaho residents, unless of course, you’re urging more killing (really doesn’t matter what species — they’re all for it).

      Please help those of us in idaho who want to stop this killing.
      – – – – –
      I boldfaced part of this comment.


      By the way, stacking the board doesn’t happen only in Idaho. The BLM’s Wild Horse Advisory Board is the same, with Callie Hendricksen, a farm bureau and cattlewoman’s association big wig and advocate of wild horse slaughter, appointed to “represent” the public’s interest. You bet.

      1. julie long gallegos Avatar
        julie long gallegos

        I did send them a letter. Thank you for the email address.

    2. Nancy Avatar

      Hope a few tuned in today to this audio Ken provided re:
      audio from the House Resources and Conservation Committee.


      1. jon Avatar

        What did Ken say Nancy?

        1. Nancy Avatar

          Streaming now Jon.

          1. jon Avatar

            Listening, Larry T is awesome.

            1. Ida Lupines Avatar
              Ida Lupines

              How exciting! I’m going to listen…

              1. jon Avatar

                Looks like it passed. it’s going to the floor now for a full vote.

  2. Joseph Allen Avatar
    Joseph Allen

    Looks like Butch has stacked the deck against science and logic.

  3. Anita Chittenden Avatar
    Anita Chittenden

    I thought when a species is delisted from the ESL and the state takes over management of that species…the state has to follow some sort of protocol directed from the USFWS for 5 years? Is this the 3rd Wolf hunting and trapping season on Idaho Wolves?

    1. W.Hong Avatar

      If I remember from things I have read, the first time they were delisted was in 2009 and I found this timeline on a website that confirms what I have read.

      Now if someone can say, if they were delisted in 2009 would that make it 5 years this year? I don’t understand when the 5 years would begin, would it begin on the first delist?

      1. Ken Cole Avatar

        No, the 2009 delisting rule was remanded after a court ruling then congress attached a rider to a budget bill and wolves were delisted in June of 2011.

      2. Anita Chittenden Avatar
        Anita Chittenden

        It seems the 5 year time frame…if there is a 5 year time is not up yet…because of Judge Molloy putting them back on the ESL in August of 2010….so there was no hunt for the 2010/2011 season..or at least part of 2011. Does anyone know if there is indeed this protocol by the USFWS states have to follow after a species is delisted from the ESA…This seems absolutely insane that this can happen to a species that was almost completely extinct…I do not at all understand how Idaho may get away with doing this…does the USFWS even know what that are proposing?

        1. W.Hong Avatar

          I believe that completely extinct is not a correct term? Completely extinct would mean there were no more of the species anywhere.

        2. Ida Lupines Avatar
          Ida Lupines

          I think they get away with it because it is not important to the Obama administration.

          I guess they think the wolves will be virtually extirpated from Idaho on or before 2019? Because that’s when this board becomes null and void, June 30, 2019, the “sunset” date.

          1. Ida Lupines Avatar
            Ida Lupines

            This bill is truly a case of read it and weep. I don’t know how we have come to this point.

  4. Jeanne Rasmussen Avatar
    Jeanne Rasmussen

    Only one person for public comment on this committee?!! What chance does that person have? It’s done as a token to make sure everything is “fair.”
    Butch Otter is a wolf hater and he has his cronies support backed by money to assure that 500 wolves will be killed. Science is not considered. It’s just a blood thirsty bunch of hormonally imbalanced men that are out to kill.

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      Not even that, the person representing the public will likely be a rancher or “sportsman” or someone solidly behind killing lots of wolves.

    2. Rita k Sharpe Avatar
      Rita k Sharpe

      That one person from the public still could be a person who has interest of the sportsmen and livestock. Why do I feel that one person from the public won’t be the librarian or teacher? Scary.

  5. Yvette Avatar

    Infuriating! What can be done? Is there any way to get wolves in ID back on the ESA? With these kinds of numbers is there any chance to get them relisted?

    “98.1% (n=1,209) of those mortalities were human caused, 1.4%, (n=17) were unknown, and 0.5% (n=6) were natural.”

  6. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    Don’t worry – as soon as they have to put up their own money it will fail. Some are already grumbling. Anyone wanna bet? 😉

  7. LM Avatar

    Sounds just like the Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Committee, which has one public advocate and the rest is stacked with industry people – just another gratuitous gesture to the Public process. I can’t make it but will gladly submit a written comment. Thanks to those of you who will attend. Good luck and prayers for a good public showing.

  8. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    Thanks, Ken.

    Very graphic!

  9. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    (e) A member of the public at large, not to exclude any person who may have sportsmen or livestock interests.

    Yes, talk about a stacked deck! Surely this isn’t legal.

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      That is the point of the bill, to make it legal. There is a big difference between legal and ethical.

      1. Ida Lupines Avatar
        Ida Lupines

        Can’t the ‘public at large’ challenge such a biased committee?

        1. Ken Cole Avatar

          No, because there is no method to do so.

      2. jon Avatar

        Ken, has Idaho fish and game come out and given their support to this bill? have you heard that they want to expand wolf killing in the lolo and selway to year round? That means pregnant wolves and wolf pups can be killed. I hope someone brings this very important fact up at the next fish and game meeting.

  10. Louise Kane Avatar
    Louise Kane

    It’s difficult to describe the rage and deep sadness I feel when reading about this proposed bill.

    “Don’t worry – as soon as they have to put up their own money it will fail. Some are already grumbling. Anyone wanna bet? ;)”

    I hope you are right Ida but I don;t think so. There are some very powerful and wealthy special interests that seem hell bent on getting rid of wolves. I think Otter’s first lines in his statement sums it up….

    “One form of growth we don’t want to encourage is in the wolf population that was imposed on us almost twenty years ago. With your unflinching support we were able to fight through the opposition of those who would make Idaho a restricted use wildlife refuge and take back control of these predators from our federal landlords. ”

    If the USFWS didn’t have their heads up their ass so far they would look at this statement, the proposed legislation and the declining numbers and targets for wolf populations as a reason to issue an intent to monitor the health of the populations. I blame the agency as much as the states. Their complicity in delisting wolves in still clearly hostile states is disgraceful. What kind of message was sent when they agreed to Wyoming’s plan. This was a green light for morons like Otter to do as they please. and they are pretty much.

    There is a trailer out for a movie being made called the Medicine of Wolves. There is one very excellent but emotional scene where Bob Landis the NG filmmaker describes wolf watching since the delisiting. He is clearly heartbroken by the death of a black male wolf he was watching for years…..

    1. Ida Lupines Avatar
      Ida Lupines

      I don’t think I’m right either, on second thought. But I hope the citzens of Idaho watch this group like hawks and goes over every expenditure with a fine toothed comb and where any donors are coming from. Each member of this board is supposed to be a bona fide Idaho citizen.

      1. Ida Lupines Avatar
        Ida Lupines

        “Why wouldn’t we just increase the number of (wolf hunting) tags and let one predator take care of another? …”

        Come election time, I hope these words are prophetic.

        Fulcher Decries Otter’s $2M Wolf Control Fund as Unneeded Bureaucracy

        1. jon Avatar

          The ignorance of Otter. NO, Otter, the wolf population was not imposed on Idaho. Wolves have always been a native species to Idaho. Where is Otter getting his facts from? He says the wolf population is growing. it’s almost as if he seems to be getting his false facts from the likes of Rockholm or Toby bridges.

  11. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    There are WOLVES in the Idaho Capitol Building.
    The gift shop in the lower level has my wolf photos for sale as of yesterday. My photography was approved for sale in the gift shop and I delivered 8 framed wildlife photos of which 5 are of Yellowstone Wolves. I will probably not make expenses due the the size of the shop, but I felt the need to make a statement.

    Shopco stores are having a sale on wildlife T-shirts. There are some decent ones displaying wolves. The T-shirts are located in the men’s department and are on sale for $6.99. I wear one every time I visit the Capitol building. I will be at the hearing on Monday wearing my wolf T-shirt. Show up with your wolf shirt on!!!

    1. Larry Thorngren Avatar

      I bought 5 wolf T-shirts. Two for me and one each for my daughter, my son in law, and my grandson. I will try to get them to the hearing with their wolf shirts on as well.

      1. julie long gallegos Avatar
        julie long gallegos

        Thank you, Larry, for representing. I wish I could go but will be in Baltimore.
        I think it’s weird that this hearing is being held on a Federal holiday.

  12. Zoe Berger Avatar
    Zoe Berger

    What I want to know is when they get the wolf population down to 150 which I bet they will since they seem to get away with everything else they want, are they going to be out there killing all the pups to keep the number at 150? That is Idaho’s number, and the USFWS has given each state that power with the delisting. It is completely outrageous that they can implement their self-governing laws, just so they can have more elk to kill. grrrrr!

  13. CodyCoyote Avatar

    Next door in Wyoming, one of the very few specific recommendations that Wyo Governor Matt Mead made in his ” State of the State” address earlier this month was a promised increase in state funded Predator Control. In Wyoming, the state contracts with Wildlife Services in addition to establishing individual county predator control boards.

    It is all part of a War on Wolves in the West , isn’t it ?

  14. Carter Niemeyer Avatar
    Carter Niemeyer

    Wildlife Services in Idaho have had their “resources” diminished for any number of reasons over the last few years – budget cuts and at least 5 positions bought out. I predict with certainty that the $2 million+ fund will supplement the Wildlife Services predator killing program in Idaho and enhance Wildlife Services’ war chest. I can assure you that Wildlife Services IS the hired gun of the livestock industry and they will happily step up to be the “hired guns” for the state of Idaho to protect wild ungulates too. And for those who suggest that pregnant female wolves and pups will be killed – that has already been going on as part of the predator control program in Idaho.

  15. Gary Humbard Avatar
    Gary Humbard

    Humans who keep doing the same thing and expecting different results = insanity. Are there no politicians in Idaho who are making their voice heard against this idiotic plan?

    Some of the words the governor used were probably said 200 years ago when there were thousands upon thousands of wolves roaming throughout the Idaho.

    IMHO, this governor does not respect the state of Idaho nor its citizens.

    His indication of disrespect shows in the management of single species (elk) versus an ecosystem approach. The IDFGs objective to increase elk numbers so hunters success would supposedly increase is essentially saying Idaho hunters are not capable of success without state intervention. They lack the knowledge, prowess and fortitude to be successful.

    He is telling ranchers that they are not capable nor willing to manage their livestock so that wolf predation is minimized or elliminated. He is using Idahos wildlife (predators) against its citizens (ranchers, farmers, hunters) by creating a “wolf control board”. He is trying to use this “us vs them” menatality because he does not think the citizens of Idaho are smart enough to realize and appreciate the benefits of having predators on the landscape.

    This wolf control board is not just about wolves, its about respect. Respect for the wildness, the beauty of the landscape and all that live within it, and the intelligence and effortlessness of the Idaho citizens who want to make it the best state in America.

    Let your voice be heard by attending the meeting or sending an e-mail. We neither desire nor need a “wolf control board” because we have the intelligence and desire to co-exist with all predators.

  16. Jay Avatar

    What an amazing coincidence that this happens to be an election year when ol’ Cleetus Otter unveils his batshit crazy wolf death panel…rallying the right wing loonies for the voting season, perhaps?

  17. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    Otter has a tea party job running against him in the Republican primary election. That probably explains part of his actions.

    1. Jay Avatar

      Gotta out-crazy the crazies, no doubt.

      1. Ida Lupines Avatar
        Ida Lupines

        He was already outdoing them enough as it was. How do you tell the difference? I don’t know how the poor Idahoans can vote for either one.

        1. Ida Lupines Avatar
          Ida Lupines

          Also, I don’t know who is worse as Interior Secretary – Ken Salazar or Sally Jewell. They are equally bad in their own way. She has no business in that job and never should have been appointed.

          1. julie long gallegos Avatar
            julie long gallegos

            I agree. Every time she appears in public, she always looks as if somebody just outside of camera frame has a gun aimed at her head.

          2. Yvette Avatar

            Agreed! Neither have been good for conservation or wildlife.

        2. Ida Lupines Avatar
          Ida Lupines

          He wanted to be the first one to shoot a wolf when hunting them began, if I recall. You’d have to go some to beat that.

    2. jon Avatar

      Ralph, have you heard that Idaho fish and game want to make the wolf hunting season year round in the lolo and selway zones? Can a hunter legally get away with finding a den and shooting 5 newborn wolf pups with his 5 wolf tags?

  18. jon Avatar

    Ralph/Ken, any updates on this bill?

  19. Ken Cole Avatar

    The bill passed 14-4 out of committee to the floor of the house.

    1. jon Avatar

      What are the chances it will pass both the senate and house? 50/50? I know a few republicans oppose this bill.

  20. Anita Chittenden Avatar
    Anita Chittenden

    I did get this email back from one of the sane representatives that opposes this ridicules bill

    Dear Anita –

    Thanks for writing to me – I will be opposing this bill, but I fear I will be in the minority.


    Representative Ilana Rubel

    Idaho House of Representatives

    District 18-A

    (208) 332-1034

    1. Nancy Avatar

      When this “dinosaur” in Idaho politics:

      said she wanted to “go after the federal government for shoving thoses wolves down our throats”
      I knew Rep. Rubel was fighting against the tide.

  21. Mike Avatar

    I refuse to spend any money in Idaho. In fact, I didn’t even bother to enjoy the beautiful country there the past several years, instead enjoying Montana, Washington, Oregon, and California.

    I fill up in St. Regis, MT, and then get gas again in Washington state.

    I can’t help but feel a certain darkness when traversing Idaho. It feels like I’ve gone back in time, to a place full of hate.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      The great support of elk in the Idaho and Montana state governments to the exclusion of all other wildife is a lot more shallow than it may appear. This bill shows the reality — the lack of concern about the health of the elk (here as livestock). They are only interested in short term profit and are willing to see the land permanently polluted with mad elk disease (CWD) prions.

    2. Ida Lupines Avatar
      Ida Lupines

      Outrageous. I don’t know why our country, and even the rest of the world, is regressing – especially when we have more knowledge today.

      1. Barb Rupers Avatar
        Barb Rupers

        Population, 7 billion and growing.

  22. Gary Humbard Avatar
    Gary Humbard

    It was disappointing to see there were equal amounts of support and opposition from the public but that is reality in Idaho. I have witnessed and fought against a mindset that is uninterested in accepting changes. Persistence was the key to success. I write letters to agencies, contribute to conservation organizations and boycott Idaho and the livestock industry, but I’m not sure what else to do to change the mind of politicians who have a mindset against wolves.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Rita k Sharpe Avatar
      Rita k Sharpe

      It is discouraging, to say the least, but changing things that started eons ago will not be changed overnight nor their archaic beliefs . Keep trying and educate others so someone picks up the fight, for, if it isn’t the wolf it will sooner or later be directed to something else, such as bears ,cougars, or other undesired wildlife or places. I am hoping my grandson picks it up and continue.

  23. frank renn Avatar
    frank renn

    Wow 40 calves killed by wolves in Bonneville county, 7 wolves removed by federal agents. Where was I hibernating when this occurred. Any of you have any information on this?

    1. Nancy Avatar

      “Where was I hibernating when this occurred. Any of you have any information on this?”

      Information on what Frank? Poor animal husbandry is prevalent out here in the west, always has been. Their lives and loss of, amount to just numbers in a book, at the end of a year.

      1. frank renn Avatar
        frank renn

        Nancy, I would suspect something of this magnitude would have made the local media. I was probably not around at the time and missed it. One can speculate as to how many calves were killed, but I find it hard to believe they could make up the part about the “federal agents”. In short I was looking for a time frame as to when this happened.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole