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Idaho Wolf Derby Set to Take Place This Weekend
Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV )
A federal judge is allowing the Idaho wolf derby to continue this weekend after much backlash from animal rights activists.
This Saturday and Sunday Idaho for Wildlife will host the competition in Salmon, where prize money will be awarded for killing the largest wolf.
Yet, a nation stands divided-- is this an ethical decision?
Although protesters argued a permit should be necessary, the event will move forward without one.
Mike McDonald, staff biologist with Idaho Fish and Game, notes, “from the department’s perspective, it’s not an activity that we regulate so the sponsors don’t need a permit to conduct the derby and as long as the participants are licensed, have tags, follow rules and regulations, that’s as involved as we're going to be.”
Proponents of the hunt say that wolves in the area are causing major issues and this may be one way of helping the problem.
Pete Espil, a local hunter, adds, “we introduced a predator into Idaho then protected it and it had no other predators. It really hurt our deer and elk populations and it hurt our ranchers and families that raise livestock. It was just a really bad decision from a conservation perspective.”
McDonald adds, “one of the things we quickly realized once the state assumed responsibility for the wolves was that wolves aren't nearly as easy to hunt as folks originally thought they were.”
Cuellar asserts, “I think it’s an education issue for both sides. With the proper education, both sides can come to a closer agreement on the issue.”
But for now, controversy remains as the first wolf hunting competition in the continental U.S. since the 1970s is set for this weekend.