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Bad news for bears

SUNDAY, AUG. 23, 2009

WILDLIFE – Bears were big in the news this week, and little of it was good.

•Montana wildlife officials are investigating the death of one of Montana’s biggest grizzly bears, a male known as “Maximus,” that stood more than 7.5 feet tall. Biologists captured the bear in 2007 and photographed it last year. It weighed about 800 pounds.

•A female grizzly nicknamed the Oldman Lake Bear was killed by Glacier National Park rangers on Monday; one of her yearling cubs died after being tranquilized and the other will be shipped to the Bronx Zoo. Park officials agonized over the decision, but said they had no choice. The bear developed an attraction to humans and could not be hazed or discouraged from coming into camps or approaching park visitors with her cubs.

•Twelve black bears were killed by Canada wildlife officers at a landfill outside the small village of Conklin in northern Alberta.

“Instead of investing in fences that would keep the bears out of the garbage and away from humans, they decide the cheapest solution is to lay to waste a bunch of living animals as if they didn’t have a right to exist,” said Sid Marty, a park warden turned activist who recently published a book about a garbage-seeking grizzly that mauled five people in Banff in the early 1980s, killing one.

Rich Landers

Two-pole license has limitations

FISHING – As Washington’s two-pole fishing license option went into effect this week, a smart angler took time to read the fine print.

The two-pole option is not allowed on about 145 of Washington’s 8,000 fishing lakes. It’s also not valid on any of the state’s streams.

The license costs $20 ($5 for seniors) and is purchased in addition to a regular fishing license.

Rich Landers

Wildlife lab opens in Spokane

WILDLIFE – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department will dedicate a new $2  million fish and wildlife laboratory Monday in Spokane Valley in the Mirabeau Point development.

The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at 2315 North Discovery Place, which is north of Interstate 90, between Evergreen and Pine roads off Mirabeau Parkway.

Lab uses include preparing animal tissue for disease testing, analyzing fish samples, performing necropsies on animal carcasses and other science and research as well as storing law enforcement evidence.

Rich Landers

Montana quake scars remain

NATIONAL FORESTS – This week 50 years ago, a massive earthquake rocked the mountains of southeastern Montana, setting off a rockslide that buried a packed Gallatin National Forest campground under 80 million tons of debris.

The Hebgen Lake earthquake remains the largest ever recorded in the Rocky Mountains. It killed 28 people on Aug. 17, 1959, and caused millions of dollars in damage.

A rockslide triggered by the event destroyed a mile-long stretch of the Madison River Canyon. Nineteen people were lost beneath the rubble; their bodies were never found.

Earthquake Lake, which formed upstream when the Madison River backed up the canyon, is now a tourist attraction drawing tens of thousands of visitors annually.

Associated Press

Vandals hammer Quincy Lakes

WILDLIFE AREAS – The south gate to Quincy Lakes Unit of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant County will be locked starting Monday to reduce vandalism.

Gang-related activity has left the area riddled with graffiti and garbage, state Fish and Wildlife Department officials said.

The north entrance to the area will remain open.

Rich Landers

Hunting clinic for women only

HUNTING – The Idaho Fish and Game Department will hold an in-depth clinic on hunting skills for women on Sept. 12, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Coeur d’Alene Rifle and Pistol Club, 5105 Atlas Road, in Coeur d’Alene.

Topics covered include firearm safety, archery and firearms shooting skills, hunting regulations, preparation for the field, map and compass and hunting ethics.

The $5 fee includes lunch.

Reservations are required. Call Idaho Fish and Game, (208) 769-1414.

Rich Landers

Winter panel seeks member

SNOW SPORTS – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s Winter Recreation Advisory Committee is seeking a non-snowmobile winter sports candidate from Area 3, which represents Ferry, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Lincoln and Spokane counties.

Nominations must be received by Sept. 29.

The Winter Recreation Program manages more than 3,500 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, 700 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and more than 100 Sno-Parks.

Info: (360) 902-8684, e-mail

Rich Landers


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