Don't hold your breath, but federal wildlife managers have told Gov. Jim Risch they're ready to begin the long march toward removing gray wolves in Idaho from the Endangered Species Act. Risch met with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dale Hall last week about the matter. Hall told a skeptical Risch that his agency would give notice in January about its entry into the delisting process to remove federal protection for wolves under the Endangered Species Act.
The federal agency had been waiting for Wyoming to develop its wildlife management plan as Idaho and Montana have, but that process appears stalled.
"As a sovereign state we should be allowed to move forward to manage a fully recovered species within our borders," said Risch in a prepared statement. "We should not be held hostage by another sovereign state who wants to do something different. While I am encouraged by what I heard today, promises have been made in the past that have not been kept."
If the federal government moves forward with plans to delist the species in Idaho, the state could manage wolves within its borders in a year. In the past, those plans have included aerial shooting of wolves and potentially the eradicating wolf packs in areas where state wildlife officials said wolves were preying on elk herds.