UPDATE: U.S. Judge Clears the Way for This Weekend's 'Wolf Hunt Derby'


UPDATE: Dec. 27, 2013 3 p.m.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale has ruled that a wolf- and coyote-hunting derby can go on as scheduled this weekend in Salmon.

An attorney for Wild Earth Guardians had argued in a morning hearing that the U.S. Forest Service was ignoring federal law in permitting the hunting derby on federal land. But Forest Service officials said that while the hunting—a non-commercial event—was taking place on federal land, any judging and awarding of prize money would take place on private land.

Hunters are being promised a $1,000 prize for the largest wolf killed and a $1,000 prize for shooting the most coyotes.

Following the hearing Dale ruled that organizers weren't required to get a special permit.

ORIGINAL POST: 9 a.m. Dec. 27, 2013

Motions will be heard in a U.S. District Courtroom in Pocatello today in a last-ditch effort by environmentalists to halt a wolf- and coyote-killing contest scheduled to take place near Salmon this weekend.

Wild Earth Guardians, and a number of other groups, argue that the U.S. Forest Service is ignoring federal laws in permitting the hunting derby, set for Saturday, Dec. 28, and Sunday, Dec. 29.

A hunters organization called Idaho for Wildlife says it's hoping to lure as many as 300 hunter to Salmon to boost the economy and raise awareness of wolf and coyote depredation. Prizes include $1,000 for the biggest wolf killed and for the most coyotes killed.

But the wildlife-advocacy groups say feds acted in an "arbitrary and capricious" manner in not requiring Idaho for Wildlife to obtain a special-use permit for the contest. Organizers said a permit wasn't required because hunting is "of a noncommercial nature" and the judging will occur on private land.