Letters from the West

Oregon's DeFazio urges Forest Service to stop wolf derby

Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio urged the U.S. Forest Service to halt the coyote and wolf hunting derby planned near Salmon on national forest lands.

DeFazio, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee told Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to determine the impact of the derby on wolf populations. “Idaho for Wildlife” organized a two-day Coyote and Wolf Derby, with prize money for the largest wolf killed a year ago but none were killed.

The Bureau of Land Management first approved a permit then withdrew it after wildlife groups threatened to sue.

“I urge the Forest Service to require the organizers of the aforementioned killing contest to apply for a special use permit or other permit before considering whether the contest should take place on NFS land, as the BLM has required for the same activity on land it manages,”DeFazio wrote. “I also urge the Forest Service to prohibit the event from taking place on NFS land this year, to ensure there is time to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement of the event and permit application.”

The Federal government has spent millions of dollars to recover wolf populations in the United States, and DeFazio said he has repeatedly questioned the rationale for allowing Federal lands and resources to be used to once again decimate the species.