The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has once again caved in to politically powerful agricultural interests. The agency, which is supposed to protect Idaho’s wildlife and wildlife habitat using science-based management, is proposing to eradicate 5,000 native elk this fall to prevent so-called “depredations” of agricultural land in south-central Idaho.
Elk naturally migrate in the fall from mountain habitats to lower elevations, but in Idaho many of those migration routes have been blocked by agricultural development. Instead of protecting critical migration routes and working to ensure that agricultural operations coexist with native wildlife, IDFG has chosen to simply kill the elk. It has suspended the customary “lottery” system for elk hunting tags and will instead issue 5,000 tags on a first-come, first-served basis. The affected area includes some of Idaho’s most spectacular public lands—such as the Pioneer and White Cloud mountains—as well as the Wood River Valley and Snake River Plain. These are the traditional lands of the Shoshone-Bannock and Eastern Shoshone people.
If elk are truly overpopulated, it indicates that we need more wolves.
By taking this action, IDFG has once again shown that it only has one tool to “manage” wildlife—a gun. Elsewhere in the state, IDFG kills imperiled wolves by the dozens because elk numbers are supposedly too low. This kind of so-called “management” is contrary to the best available science, which unequivocally shows that healthy populations of both predator and prey species provide innumerable ecological benefits and should be maintained by protecting and restoring habitat and migration corridors.
Stand up for native wildlife, and tell IDFG to protect, rather than persecute, south-central Idaho’s iconic elk herds.
There are two ways you can take action today:
1. Call IDFG’s Magic Valley Office: (208) 324-4359
2. Call or email Governor Little’s Office: (208) 334-2100 or https://gov.idaho.gov/contact-us/
Potential Talking Points:
- Idaho’s wildlife are a public trust resource and should be managed for all Idahoans, not just for special interests.
- The problem is land use, not elk.
- If farmers and ranchers can’t coexist with wildlife, they should find other places to farm or ranch.
- Protecting wildlife migration routes is more important that protecting corporate profits.
Thank you for taking a stand for Idaho wildlife!