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Commission Continues Predator-Control Program

April 25, 2002
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Commission Continues Predator-Control Program

By the Associated Press

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Fish and Game Commission voted 6-1 Thursday to continue a $300,000 pilot project in eastern Idaho intended to reduce predator populations to improve trophy-deer hunting.

The program became noteworthy earlier this month when a Montana trapper killed a coyote in eastern Idaho without having a valid hunting license. Fish and Game Officers wrote a collection permit for him weeks after the coyote was killed.

John Graham was in Idaho to evaluate the merits of killing coyotes to help deer herds. He said he believed the department had arranged for him to demonstrate his coyote-killing techniques.

The Idaho State Police is now investigating the incident. Commissioner Don Clower of Meridian, who voted against proceeding with the project, encouraged the commission to allow the investigation to finish before continuing.

Clower also asked that a detailed proposal for the project go to public review before it is started.

"Anything we do now is going to be met with suspicion," Clower said.

Commissioner Roy Moulton of Driggs, a backer of the project, said delaying it "sounds like an attempt to stonewall the project." The Montana trapper killed the coyote in Moulton's presence.

The project was supposed to get under way in March and continue for two years. The Legislature called for it last session and earmarked $300,000.

The program involves killing predators such as coyotes and mountain lions to see what effect that has on deer populations.

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