Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
This week the Idaho legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of S. 1211, a bill that, if signed into law by the governor, would allow the state to kill 90% of its wolves by expanding hunting and hiring private contractors to shoot the animals.
Besides expanding the number of wolves that hunters can kill, S. 1211 also expands the methods available to them, allowing the use of night vision goggles and shooting the animals from ATVs. Though it’s been lauded by ranchers and agricultural interests, conservation groups, including Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity, have fiercely opposed the measure.
“The bill will waste millions of dollars of public funds on killing wolves, and threatens to ultimately return the species to the endangered species list and federal management,” a group of conservation organizations said in a written statement to Idaho’s governor, Brad Little. “Not a single dollar of this bloated budget for wolf killing can be spent on nonlethal methods that science shows actually work to prevent conflicts and save livestock”.
It’s not just environmentalists opposing the bill, however. The Idaho Fish and Game commission opposed passage of the measure on the grounds that it would take many wolf management decisions out of its hands. Opponents point to the fact that wolves only killed approximately 102 cattle and sheep—or 1 in 28,000, according to National Geographic—in 2020.
Idaho currently has a wolf population of about 1,500. If S. 1211 becomes law, they’ll be decimated, hunted down to Idaho’s state-conservation-plan mandated 150. Want to take action? Send a letter urging Governor Little to veto S. 1211 here.