The House Resources and Conservation Committee introduced a bill Thursday that would help protect the identity of both resident and non-resident wolf hunters.
In her testimony before the committee, Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, said that on the second day of the wolf hunt in 2009, she received a call from a constituent in her district over the harrassment he was receiving over his wolf kill. The constituent complained to Boyle that anti-wolf hunt protestors had placed harrassing phone calls to his home and business, which negatively affected his life. The constituent said that the New York Times even called him for an interview on the same day he reported to the kill to the state.
According to Boyle, information hunters' information given to the state about wolf kills is fair game for citizens or media to access under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Idaho wolf advocate Rick Hobson has posted the 122 names of the hunters with successful wolf kills, though he says harassment was not his intent. News reports say that Hobson posted hunters' personal information that led to the harassment.
Under the new legislation, that information would be exempt from the FOIA, though a hunter could choose to release their own personal details through a written notice to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. For the purposes of biological tracking and quota reporting, hunters are required to report their wolf kills to the department within 24 hours of making them.
The measure passed on a unanimous votes from legislators, with several saying that they too had been contacted by hunters over privacy concerns. IdahoReporter.comwill continue to follow the legislation as it moves through the legislative process.