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Idaho's Christmas wolf and coyote hunt

The Ecologist

19th December 2013

Wolves in Idaho can forget their dreams of chasing Santa's reindeer. All they can look forward to this Christmas is a hail of bullets from hunters, some as young as 10, joining in the state's 1st Annual Predator Derby.

This is an incredible opportunity to team up with your son or daughter during Christmas break.

"Idaho for Wildlife" sounds like a conservation group - and you might think that's why they are celebrating on December 28th - it's the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act!

"This is an incredible opportunity to team up with your son or daughter during Christmas break and spend some quality time in the gorgeous Salmon, Idaho Country!", says the IFW website.

But then you notice how they have chosen to celebrate - with IFW's "1st Annual Predator Derby". On 28th and 29th December the State's hunters some as young as 10, will be out with their guns in the wilds of Salmon, Idaho, shooting wolves and coyotes.

The killer of the largest wolf is in line for a trophy and $1,000 prize. Compared to that, coyotes are small fry, with 'option pots' for the killers of the biggest male, biggest female, and third prize for the killer of the most females.

IFW's website states: "Wolves in Idaho are considered a big game animal just like a deer or elk. Coyotes are classified as an unprotected predator and can be hunted year around.

"Youth hunters who are 12 years of age or older, and have received their hunters education certificate and have a valid hunting license and wolf tag may hunt wolves.

"Youth that are 10 years or older who have passed hunters education and have a valid hunting license can hunt coyotes as long as they have a mentoring parent or adult."

But not everyone wants to join in the festive fun. The Defenders of Wildife group complains: "This twisted 'wolf derby' is a horrific demonstration of what happens when wolves are prematurely stripped of Endangered Species Act protection.

"Over 154 wolves have already been killed in Idaho since this year's hunting season began. Idaho wolves can't bear to lose more pups, mothers, and pack leaders than they already have. It's up to you and me to stop this."

"Organizers of this so-called wolf derby admit that one purpose of the event is to show the world that no one can stop them from killing wolves - not you, not me, and especially not the federal government."

A Care2 petition against the event has has so far gathered 32,589 signatures: "Both wolves and coyotes play essential roles in the ecosystem - they are not pests. Wolves actually need increased protection.

"Even if numbers did need to be reduced, which they don't, shooting these beautiful animals should only ever be done by professionals. Treating it as family entertainment is ridiculous. Tell Idaho that the true meaning of Christmas is not, in fact, barbarity."



Also in The Ecologist: Wolf slaughter is un-American!



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