Out & About

Flurry of albinos show in Montana

OUTSTANDING – Two rare white sightings came from Montana this fall:

•An albino black bear – 4 years old and 150 pounds – was captured by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks staffers near the town of Olney in northwestern Montana and moved to Glacier National Park to give it a chance to survive the hunting season.

The bruin is particularly rare since albino bears typically don’t survive long for various reasons, among them vision problems, officials said.

•An albino coyote was killed by a Montana hunter near Baker. A taxidermist said the animal weighed only 18 pounds – a little more than half the weight of a normal adult coyote – and had only grasshoppers and wheat in its stomach.

Incidentally, within days after a photo of the hunter and coyote were e-mailed to friends, the photo was posted on a Web site touting it as a coyote killed near Albany, Texas.

Bear spray rule planned in Wyoming

OUTSMART – Teton County Attorney Steve Weichman says he’s working on legislation that would require permitted backcountry users to carry bear spray when they’re in grizzly country.

He said the bill would require hunters, anglers and backpackers overnighting around national parks to carry bear spray in areas populated by grizzly bears.

Weichman said the measure is needed because human-grizzly conflicts are increasing. While only 44 people have died from grizzly attacks since the beginning of the 20th century, the majority of those attacks have occurred in the last 20 years.

Weichman also cited recent studies that show bear spray is more effective than bullets at preventing injury to humans during a bear attack. When using bear spray, there’s no chance of a human being injured by a gunshot, he added.

“The grizzly is here, the conflicts are rising and this is a commonsense notion much like seat belts, which were not warmly embraced either,” he said.

Stay nourished on the trail

OUTGOING – Two tips gleaned from an outing with a recent graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, where participants push their limits and find pleasure in simplicity:

•Enhance GORP by adding butterscotch bits.

•When the schedule calls for big mileage, avoid stops by refueling on peanut butter, sprinkled with brown sugar, wrapped in a tortilla and tucked in a pack pocket that can be reached for on-the-go snacking.

Florida orders super-sized bass

OUTGROWTH – Florida-strain black bass have grown into the biggest freshwater largemouths in the world, but managers say in their home waters of Florida they don’t grow as big as they used to.

The state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has proposed collecting big bass DNA to put a growth spurt on hatchery fish.

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