Boise, ID – In 2019, WildEarth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project, and Wilderness Watch brought a lawsuit challenging traditional methods for black bear hunting on federal lands in Idaho and Wyoming. This lawsuit was brought under the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act against the Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The lawsuit would have posed a threat to hunting traditions as well as the right of the state to manage hunting practices. Represented by the Office of the Attorney General, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission joined the case in 2019.
After four years, the State of Idaho has reaffirmed its sovereignty over hunting practices. Judge Candy Dale ruled in our favor. The result is that the Forest Service does not need to consult under the Endangered Species Act regarding state-authorized black bear baiting on Forest Service lands. Furthermore, this ruling keeps hunting practices under state management.
“This is a massive victory for state sovereignty. Once again, Idaho has fought against entities seeking to limit state power. This is no small case, had this case been decided against us; it would’ve encouraged groups to continue clawing control away from the states and toward the federal government. I am proud of our office’s work to ensure our state continues to stand at the forefront of state rights issues.” Attorney General Labrador said.
The Office of the Attorney General will continue to pursue cases that protect states’ rights to follow policies aligned with Idaho’s interests.