There has been a great deal of recent news celebrating the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to revoke a permit that would have allowed anti-predator organizers to lawfully utilize BLM lands in central Idaho as a stage for another mass slaughter of coyotes and targeted wolves.

WildLands Defense thanks those involved in the litigation effort, an effort that can be reasonably characterized to have mounted the pressure necessary to compel BLM to revoke its permit.

However, unless the Forest Service (FS) takes similar action denying derby participants access to FS grounds to hold the slaughter – conditions on the ground and as a matter of law will be no different than occurred last year when derby organizers responded to the inquiries about accessibility of BLM lands by assuring WLD activist infiltrators that derby organizers would simply refuse to ask where participants had slaughtered their “entries” <wink wink> and that it was not illegal to hunt coyotes or wolves on BLM lands.

Central Idaho Wolf Derby

WLD Founders Brian and Natalie Ertz Infiltrate Wolf & Coyote Derby For VICE

WLD activists monitoring the event at that time encountered NO law enforcement effort to prevent the slaughter of coyotes and wolves on BLM ground despite the lack of BLM permit last year and noted law enforcement both at the registration and at the final event were solely interested in investigating for environmentalists and animal rights activists they had heard would be showing up, law enforcement was NOT interested in investigating where participants had slaughtered their predators.  The sad fact is that it IS NOT clear whether it is illegal in the state of Idaho to hunt or kill coyotes or wolves on public lands if one has a proper license and tag to do so, even in the event that a federal land agency abstains from issuing a permit for a derby.

This is a problem.

The litigation efforts that helped curtail derby organizers’ cruel pathology from explicitly metastasizing onto BLM ground ought be celebrated and supported.  However, the effort needs to be replicated on FS ground as well if there is to be any practicable expectation of enforceability for a halt to this cruel campaign of carnage occurring in central Idaho.

Litigation claims that rely upon agencies’ procedural inadequacies are essential stop-gap measures to prevent this madness in the short term.  However, they DO NOT and CAN NOT provide the lasting legal protections that will curtail such events from taking place into the future, and they provide no safety to predators once federal land bureaucrats and politicians do the requisite diligence in crossing their ‘T’s and dotting the ‘I’s.

We need substantive policy change.

In order to generate the public outrage that naturally foments once people learn of these grotesque events, and in order to lend those policy-makers sympathetic to policy change the support they need to pass meaningful legislation, efforts in the media should highlight the inadequacy of the law as it stands now and the shortcomings of the existing management regimes capacity to curtail these events.

WildLands Defense eagerly anticipates a dispositive ruling on the Forest Service claims challenging the event across FS ground. We hope for a favorable outcome in the courts, one which will make any unlawful behavior an order of magnitude easier to identify and pronounce.

No matter the outcome, WLD will be pushing for a substantive curtailment of the carnage, a curtailment that leaves lasting protections for predators on the ground.