Update: BLM released a statement and its decision to rescind the afternoon of Nov. 25th. Scroll down to read it.
The Bureau of Land Management has decided to cancel a planned hunt for wolves, coyotes and other species on about 3 million acres in Idaho.
The permit for the so-called “predator derby” would have allowed three days of hunting each year for five years, starting Jan. 2. The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Project Coyote and Defenders of Wildlife had filed a lawsuit challenging the hunt and were waiting for BLM’s response to the groups’ request for an expedited briefing schedule.
“We’re so glad that the deadly derby has been canceled this year,” said Amy Atwood, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, who represents the Center, Western Watersheds Project and Project Coyote. “These sort of ruthless kill-fests have no place in this century. We intend to pursue every available remedy to stop these horrible contests.” (Press release from environmental groups)
“The hunt would have allowed up to 500 participants compete to kill the largest number of wolves, coyotes and other animals for cash and prizes,” the groups’ press release said. “Contest organizers are hoping to expand their contest statewide.”
BLM has yet to comment publicly on why it stopped the contest. Calls to BLM in Idaho and to a lawyer with derby organizer Idaho for Wildlife have yet to be returned. The court docket also has no filing from BLM.
“I believe that DOJ didn’t want to defend our motion because we have a good record,” Atwood said.
According to the bureau’s Finding of No Significant Impact, “For the purposes of the competition, predators include a variety of species, including, wolves, coyotes, weasels, skunks, jackrabbits, raccoons, and starlings. All rules and hunting regulations would be followed and adhered to by all participants.”
BLM grants permit (11/13/14)
Public comment period open on permit (10/2/14)
BLM statement, 11/25/14
After careful consideration, the BLM has decided to withdraw the Record of Decision for the Predator Hunt Derby Special Recreation Permit. This comes as a result of uncertainties about the details of the Predator Hunt as provided by Idaho for Wildlife and operational
Full decision follows