Wilderness Does Not Affect Wildlife Management…

Dear Editor,

As a former wildlife biologist, I call BS on a recent “My Turn” column written by Tony McDermott. Either he is incredibly misinformed, or he meant to mislead others with his absurd statements. The entire article is filled with accusations based on half-truths and outright falsehoods. In particular, I find it difficult to understand how a former IDFG Commissioner does not know the IDFG mission statement, which reads: “All wildlife, including all wild animals, wild birds, and fish, within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idaho.”

What that means is that land management agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service only manage the habitat, NOT the wildlife. Wildlife belongs to the state, whether it is in downtown Boise or at the summit of Scotchman Peak. That does not change with wilderness designation.

If a wildlife species is found to be threatened, or is in imminent danger of extinction, any management action that might affect those animals requires consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That is called the Endangered Species Act, which has absolutely nothing to do with wilderness designation.

By the way, the Foundation 4 Wildlife Management membership cited by Mr. McDermott is made up of local wolf trappers. They should be happy to know that trapping is allowed in U.S. Forest Service Wilderness Areas. In addition, on May 5, 2011, wolves in Idaho were removed from the list of endangered species, and management reverted to the state.

Bonnie Jakubos

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