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Senate Bill 1039 — Wolf Depredation Control Board

Senate Bill 1039 — Wolf Depredation Control Board

Phil Haunschild
February 5, 2019

Bill description: SB 1039 would repeal the 2020 sunset date for the Wolf Depredation Control Board.

Rating: -2

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

HB 538 would extend the sunset date for the Wolf Depredation Control Board from June 30, 2019, to June 30, 2020. The board was established in 2014 to control wolf populations in the state that are preying on livestock and other wildlife, such as elk and deer.

The board has received an annual appropriation from the Legislature of $400,000 for FY15 to FY19. For FY20, the governor has recommended an appropriation of $200,000. The board also receives up to $220,000 a year in funding from fees paid by sportsmen and the owners of livestock. During the period of FY15 through FY18, the cost for each wolf killed by the board came to about $7,000. In total, the board has spent $1.8 million and killed 262 wolves over 4 years. Private hunters have killed about 270 wolves per year in activities that are not connected to the board.


Does it transfer a function of the private sector to the government? Examples include government ownership or control of any providers of goods or services such as the Land Board's purchase of a self-storage facility, mandatory emissions testing, or pre-kindergarten. Conversely, does it eliminate a function of government or return a function of government to the private sector?

The control of wolf populations is not a role the state government must take on. There are multitudes of hunters in the state who can take on this responsibility, provided the department issues permits for them to do so. Additionally, there are private organizations who will take on the responsibility of controlling wolf populations in the state. One such group has reimbursed hunters for eliminating more than 400 wolves, at one-twelfth the cost it takes the board to kill each wolf.

While this organization largely focuses on protecting populations of elk in the state, livestock owners could take on the responsibility of protecting their animals from depredation. The Department of Fish and Game does not require livestock owners to obtain a permit before killing any wolf that is attacking their herd. The owner must simply report the incident to the department within three days.

There are a multitude of ways private individuals and organizations can take on the responsibilities the board currently carries out.


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