A wolf and coyote derby taking place this weekend has turned a small Idaho town into a battleground between hunters and animal rights activists. Animal rights groups such as WildEarth Guardians had protested the event, supposedly on the grounds that the derby organizers needed permits from the U.S. Forest Service for the hunts to take place. However, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale ruled the permits weren't necessary, and the event could proceed.
Derbies, such as the one taking place in Salmon, ID, are nothing new around the western state. Bliss holds its annual Hannah Bates Memorial Rock Chuck Derby, which raises money for various charities in honor of Bates, who died of ...view middle of the document...
They tend to "sport kill," and can destroy a small herd of deer or elk on first attack. Domestic dogs and other smaller predators do not stand a chance against the much more powerful predators.
There are also reports of the wolves introducing a parasite known as Echinococcus granulosus, which is a form of tape worm. This worm grows in the bellies of dogs and wolves, and transfers to animals like elk and caribou when the feces from the infected animal is ingested. While the speculation is common and the trend is to blame the wolves, according to reports from Idaho Fish and Game and the Centers for Disease Control, this parasite was found in Idaho sheep shipped to California for slaughter, and was more than likely in the state long before the wolves were reintroduced.
However, one of the most frightening things that is known about these wolves is they show very little fear of humans. This wolf has been known to make its home right on a person's front porch and eat the food meant for the cat. The wolf may even share dinner with the cat, because the cat isn't a dog; there would be no sharing with the dog.
Despite the issues many have had with the wolves, animal rights activists have rushed to protect the predators, and some say, in turn, have become the predators. It is this dispute between activists and hunters which has turned this tiny Idaho town of Salmon into a battleground over a wolf and coyote hunt derby.
Groups like WildEarth Guardians and the American Humane Society have been very vocal in opposition to the derby, having deemed the competition, which offers cash prizes for the biggest wolf and coyote killed, as "murder." Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle called the hunt a "wolf massacre" and that the event pointed to an uglier time in American history. One of the biggest concerns among the groups protesting the event is the possible age of the participants; children as young as 10 are allowed to be part of the hunting teams.
The American Humane Society spoke out publicly against the event, and GuardianEarth had started an online petition to stop the derby, as well as seeking a failed court injunction against the hunt. While all perfectly legal, some of the other activist activity reported by the residents of Salmon was not so much so.
According to one news report and the organizer's website, residents and business owners of this tiny town of 3,000 people had received such threats via Facebook and other social media sites as having their businesses burned to the ground...with the owners still in it. One threat reportedly wished to hang a local restaurant owner and his family from nooses, while another wished that the wolves would find the owners of this same restaurant, The Savage Grill, and eviscerate them.
Salmon's residents do not understand the reason for the anger and the threats; hunting in this area, and in Idaho as a whole, has simply been a way of life. People hunt to both feed their families....