SALMON, Idaho — A sportsman group’s two-day competition focused on killing wolves and coyotes has sparked a controversy.
Idaho For Wildlife’s Salmon Chapter has scheduled its first Annual Predator Derby for Dec. 28-29, with $1,000 prizes to be awarded both to the two-person team that harvests the largest wolf and the most coyotes.
“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,” the organization posted on its website, www.idahoforwildlife.com.
Officials with the organization declined to comment.
The conservation organization Defenders of Wildlife has organized opposition to the event, noting it commences on the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.
“Already, 154 wolves have been killed in Idaho since hunting season began on Aug. 30,” Defenders of Wildlife wrote in a website posting. “This barbaric competitive slaughter promises to raise that number even higher. … It’s a horrific demonstration of what happens when wolves are prematurely stripped of Endangered Species Act protection.”
In response, Idaho For Wildlife accused the conservation group of “spreading misinformation all over the web” in order to raise more money to “fight our hunting heritage.”
Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials emphasize that the event’s organizers were under no obligation to get a permit.
“We aren’t supplying any sort of financial or logistical support. We will conduct our regular patrols. If anyone has evidence of any sort of unlawful activity associated with the derby or any other hunting activity, we will investigate that activity,” said Mike Keckler, IDFG communications chief. “Nothing in Idaho law prohibits this.”
Registration is $20 for a two-person team. Entries are being taken at High Country Sporting Goods in Salmon or by calling 208-756-3002.