Environmentalists, Forest Service fight in federal court over planned Idaho wolf derby

Foes of an Idaho wolf and coyote derby planned for this weekend raised the specter of hundreds of hunters descending on National Forest lands, threatening other users with stray bullets and potentially killing so many animals they disrupt the ecosystem.

An attorney for WildEarth Guardians on Friday told a federal judge in Boise she should halt the event because the U.S. Forest Service shirked its own rules by not requiring derby organizers to get a special permit normally required for commercial events.

The U.S. Forest Service's lawyer countered that hunters would be coming to Salmon, Idaho, this weekend — regardless of whether there was a hunting contest.

He told Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale that opponents couldn't demonstrate they'd be irreparably harmed.

Dale promised a decision before the derby's start Saturday.