The Idaho Supreme Court on Friday upheld a 2006 shoot-to-kill order that authorized state game wardens to pursue a herd of domestic elk that escaped from an eastern Idaho hunting farm.
The unanimous decision likely marks the end of former elk rancher Rex Rammell’s legal fight. Rammell had challenged the state’s right to shoot a person’s private property – in this case, dozens of trophy bull elk that Rammell had been saving for paying hunters before they bolted through a fence at his Chief Joseph elk preserve just west of Yellowstone National Park.
Justices unanimously upheld an earlier 4th District Court ruling, concluding the state was legally authorized to take Rammell’s escaped elk. The elk had been on the loose for at least 34 days – well after the seven-day limit that Idaho lawmakers had given elk ranchers to recapture their animals before they could be killed without liability.
Rammell unsuccessfully sought to capitalize on the furor over the case to launch a political career. He lost a 2008 contest for a U.S. Senate seat against then-Gov. Jim Risch, who gave the shoot-to-kill order, and also lost in a 2010 run for governor.
After a third failed political bid – he lost a 2012 GOP primary for the state Legislature in Idaho County – Rammell moved to Wyoming in June to work as a veterinarian. (AP)