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Salmon residents receive death threats over wolf-hunting contest

Ask any of the people in Salmon and they’ll tell you there’s nothing they like more than a good hunt.

“It is really a way of life,” said Salmon resident Billijo Beck.

But lately that way of life has come under scrutiny after a local outfitter announced a wolf derby in which hunters will be given cash prizes for killing wolves.

Several in the town of 3,000 say they’ve received threatening e-mails and Facebook messages from all over the world.

“There was one that they were gonna hang our entire family by a noose,” recalls Jen Larson, who says she began receiving threats after she and her husband’s diner, the Savage Grill, became a derby sponsor.

“Wanted to burn the business down with us in it. Make sure we were in it,” said Dave Larson.

“Some rock and a flaming arrow needs to fly through that sign,” reads one message, referring to the Savage Grill’s Native American logo.

Another reads, “Sick [expletives] like you need to be removed from the planet. I hope a pack of wolves eviscerates you and leaves your worthless carcass to die slowly, painfully and alone.”

We tracked down one of the people behind one of the threats—a man living in Canada who identified himself as a Native American elder but wouldn’t give his name.

He insists he didn’t cross any line by sending the messages.

“They’re beautiful and you can’t eat the meat. Why do they want to shoot them?” he asked.

But hunters say they’re doing nothing wrong.

“If you look up the definition of murder, it’s defined in human terms. Not in animal terms,” said Beck.

They say the wolf derby will continue despite the negative response.

“It’s mostly out-of-state people who don’t have a clue what we do here or how we live here,” said Dave Larson.

The Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office would not confirm whether they’re investigating the threats.

The wolf derby will take place Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 in Salmon.

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