Idaho State Senator Jeff Siddoway introduced bill S1305 into the statehouse this week. The bill will allow slaughter of wolves found molesting livestock, by any means. This includes shooting wolves from motorized vehicles, powered parachutes, helicopters or fixed-wing planes. Rifles, pistols, shotguns, crossbows, night scopes, electronic calls — day or night.
In Idaho, livestock consists of mainly sheep and cattle. The bill specifically includes the use of live bait. It’s not just wolves in Idaho that are in danger; any living creature could become bait if bill S1305 is passed.
The bill was discussed Monday at the Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee meeting. When Siddoway – a sheep rancher and sponsor of this bill – was asked why the need for live bait, he said:
“You know, the darn things keep coming at us in the night, that’s the only explanation,” Siddoway responded. “They come in the middle of the night. … You can only see probably 150, 200 head out of 2,500 head in a band of sheep. … You just literally can’t find ‘em. And most of these kills come in the nighttime. So if you can figure out the direction in which they’re coming and put a pen down there with a few sheep in it, so that they come … into that area and they circle that pen at 2 o’clock in the morning, you’ve got a much better chance of getting the perpetrators of that depredation. … That’s why we need the live bait.”
About Jeff Siddoway
As the majority shareholder owner of Siddoway Sheep Company, Inc., it’s important to understand Siddoway has a personal interest in introducing this legislation. Since President Obama signed the delisting of wolves as endangered species in the northern Rockies as part of a budget rider in the spring of last year, Idaho now has a state-approved wolf hunt which began August 30, 2011 and ends June 30, 2012. According to the website Howling for Justice, 321 wolves have been killed in Idaho since the hunt began last year. That’s 223 shot and 88 trapped or snared.
Records indicate Siddoway Sheep Company received $993,075 in federal subsidies (taxpayer’s money) between the years 1995-2010. This was for wool, meat, livestock, wheat, barley and oats.
To understand Siddoway’s opinion about animal welfare, you don’t need to look any further than Juniper Mountain Ranch. This is a canned-hunt ranch Siddoway opened on his property in 2003 to diversify his sheep company. With prices ranging from $500 – $12,000, you can go there and kill animals like elk and bison. The ranch has a butcher to send you home with the meat you killed and a taxidermist to create trophies for you.
And when you’ve killed your elk or bison, side trips can be arranged. Like hunting ducks, geese, waterfowl, coyotes, badger, pheasants, sharptail grouse, Hungarian partridge, grey partridge, rabbits and doves.
“You can basically go after them [wolves] by any means possible. And when I say get ‘em I mean kill ‘em” said Siddoway in The Idaho Statesman regarding S1305. He also exclaimed “Some might use dogs as bait.” The bill cites no protection for any creature used as live bait nor does it set limits on what is considered live bait.
What You Can Do To Help
Brett Haverstick, Education and Outreach Director for Friends of the Clearwater, attended Monday’s session. He told me Senator Michelle Stennett was tenacious in asking questions at Monday’s meeting. He also notified me last evening that the committee has approved moving the bill forward for a vote in the Senate. Voting could occur as early as Wednesday, February 29.
Photo credit: George Self via Flickr