Hunters or ranchers could once again shoot gray wolves if some Republican members of Congress get their way. State lawmakers in the Northwest are also wading into the wolf controversy.
Montana and Idaho’s U.S. Representatives have introduced a bill to strip the gray wolf of federal endangered species protections.
Oregon Republican Greg Walden is also on board with that.
The sponsors are hoping for better luck in the new Congress than last year when the idea didn’t go anywhere.
Wolves are also getting renewed attention from the state legislatures in Boise, Salem and Olympia.
Yakima Valley Republican David Taylor introduced a measure that would let people shoot wolves that come onto state or private land.
David Taylor: “It says, OK feds. You can go ahead and manage wolves on federal land. They’re not as far as we’re concerned endangered in Washington State. So therefore you can’t manage them on private or state ground.”
The pro-wolf group, Conservation Northwest, attacks Taylor’s bill as “extreme and unnecessary” and an invitation to wolf poaching.
In Salem, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association is going a different tack. It is seeking support to give livestock owners the right to demand public compensation when wolves kill their animals.
On Tuesday, Oregon state Senator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls) introduced a bill which seeks to remove the gray wolf from protection under the state endangered species act.