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Field reports: Grizzly bear attacks reported in Montana

WILDLIFE – Two grizzly bear attacks reported in Montana last week could have had dramatically different outcomes had the humans involved been equipped with pepper spray.

• An antler hunter shot and killed a female grizzly bear he said was charging him on the Blackfoot-Clearwater game range just northeast of the Clearwater Junction.

The shooting orphans the bear’s two small cubs, which were born this year.

• Two hikers were bitten by a bear near the Deer Creek Trail in the Gallatin National Forest north of Big Sky. A woman suffered bites to the leg, and the man with her was bitten on the forearm when he tried to intervene.

Montana wildlife officials say they will treat the attack as a normal surprise reaction of a mother bear.

Also: Joseph Cree Medicine, 26, was sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $500 for shooting a grizzly that scared him while he was deer hunting in northwestern Montana. He did not quickly report the shooting as required by law.

Rich Landers

Program puts employees on bikes

CYCLING – Some of Spokane’s Mountain Gear employees have been participating in Bike to Work week on wheels purchased through a corporate program with Two Wheel Transit bicycle shop.

In three years, Mountain Gear’s employee program has helped outfit more than 60 employees and their family members with Trek bikes. Mountain Gear finances employee bike purchases with no interest over eight months, said company spokesman Wyeth Larson.

For details contact:

• Larson, 340-6108.

• Two Wheel Transit, Geoff Forshag, 747-2231.

Rich Landers

Wolves in news for trouble this week

WILDLIFE – Gray wolves made headlines on several fronts this week:

• Idaho Fish and Game officials gave deputies the go-ahead to kill a pack of about seven wolves suspected in frequent attacks on dogs and livestock in Elk City.

• Environmental groups dropped a lawsuit to prevent wildlife officials from killing two wolves in northeastern Oregon blamed for recent livestock deaths in that area. One of the Imnaha Pack wolves was killed on Tuesday.

• Montana wildlife officials tentatively approved a plan allowing hunters to kill as many as 220 wolves this fall.

Rich Landers

Forest fire workers earn national awards

PUBLIC LANDS – Two northeastern Washington firefighters have received National Smokey Bear awards for outstanding leadership in wildfire prevention efforts.

Ray Kresek, curator, author and retired firefighter, received a 2011 Silver Smokey Bear Award along with John Foster Fanning, a DNR fire control forester and fire prevention specialist.

Rich Landers