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Wolf and Coyote Derby Turns Tiny Idaho Town Into Battleground

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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 cancer in 2008. There are other smaller hunting derbies in both Idaho and the surrounding western states; these derbies are held for the purpose of reducing both predator and rodent populations, as well as for fundraising. Coyotes, fox and, of course, rock chucks, are all subjects of these derbies; famed rock chuck Punxsutawny Phil would get no special protection here.
What has made this derby so different, however, is the addition of one specific animal - the wolf. Since wolves were reintroduced into the Idaho wilderness in 1995, they have been surrounded by controversy. Animal rights groups lauded the reintroduction; but farmers, ranchers and hunters were far from keen on the idea, and the hatred of the wolves has steadily risen among these groups.

Part of the problem with the wolves now found in the Idaho wilderness is the fact that they are not native to Idaho, as the indigenous populations had all been nearly wiped out. These wolves are from Canada, and are much larger and stronger than those native to the state. Not only that, but the ...

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...tivists are hoping for, especially when these threats are aimed at families and children. Salmon, like most of the tiny Idaho towns, is centered on family and community, and its residents do not take kindly to having either endangered; no child's life is worth than of an animal, no matter how beautiful, noble or majestic that animal may be.
Besides, a good number of Idaho's population took Hunter's Education by the age of 12.

The owner of the Savage Grill, Dave Larson, said the majority of the protests were coming from those who lived out of state, and "who don't have a clue what we do here or how we live here.”
Truth is, Larson is right; the activists most likely do not know how Idahoans live or what Idahoans do, and this lack of knowledge about a state, an area, a way of life, as well as the Wolf and Coyote Derby, has turned a tiny Idaho town into a battleground.
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