Latest from The Spokesman-Review
ENDANGERED SPECIES — The saga of wolf recovery in Washington has taken a strange tryst.
A large domestic guard dog that took a month-long romp on the wild side in Pend Oreille County forced Washington Fish and Wildlife officials to capture and spay an endangered female gray wolf on Saturday.
“Our goal is restoration of a native wolf population not in producing a generation of hybrids we'd have to take care of in another way later,” said Donny Martorello, the department's carnivore manager in Olympia.
The wolf was one of two females in the new Ruby Creek Pack that biologists have been tracking with GPS collars since July.
The unusual action came after biologists learned that an Akbosh sheep dog climbed a 7-foot-tall fence from its yard near Ione and disappeared with the two female wolves for more than a month during February when wolves go into heat.
“If there had been a male wolf in the group, the dog would have been killed instantly,” Martorello said. But the two females tolerated him and breeding occurred, he said.
Biologists easily tracked the GPS signal and used a helicopter to shoot tranquilizers and capture the wolves. One female was pregnant; the other was not, he said. Both were released in the Pend Oreille River area.
“Spaying (the pregnant wolf) was a better alternative than trying to go out and kill all the pups after they're born,” he said.
The dog had run off with the wolves for about a week in early January, but biologists were able to monitor the wolves and tell the dog's owner when they were back near the home. The homeowner was able to call the dog in.
“We were already suspicious,” Martorello said. “Dogs and wolves usually don't mix.”
Wildlife officials advised the dog owner to restrain the dog for the rest of the winter. While dogs can come into heat throughout the year, wolves generally come into estrus only in January and February, Martorello said.
“But when those females came back in a few days, one must have been in estrus because that big, intact dog climbed a seven-foot orchard fence and took off with them from mid-January through February,” he said.
- Maybe this is the start of the new, more gentle guard dog: Keep the big bad wolves away from the sheep with a little love.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — It's instructive to notice the spin the Defenders of Wildlife is putting on the report on gray wolf recovery status in Washington, released today by state wildlife officials.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife just reported that gray wolves established four new packs and expanded their territory in the state over the past year. The headline on the media release said, ”State's wolf population kept expanding last year, according to a WDFW survey.”
Defenders of Wildlife responded within two hours to its constituents with its own media release, headlined: “Washington's gray wolf population remains stable.”
Who are the experts on this report and who has their hands out for donations?
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife carnivore specialist Donny Martorello said the state confirmed the presence of 13 wolf packs, five successful breeding pairs and at least 52 individual wolves in 2013. “While we can't count every wolf in the state, the formation of four new packs is clear evidence of steady growth in Washington's wolf population. More packs mean more breeding females, which produce more pups.”
Defenders said: “This year’s count tallied 52 wolves, an increase of one individual from the 2012 year-end population.”
Clarification: Last year's report estimated the wolf population in the state as ranging from a minimum of 51 wolves up to about 100 wolves. So for Defenders to say this year's estimate is “an increase of one individual” is propaganda.
I asked Martorello personally why the agency did not give a population range this year as it has in the past. He repeated that there's no way to accurately estimate the high end of population “so we're not even going to try.” Wildlife managers also emphasize that while 52 is what they can document, there are surely more.
Good cases can be made for the populations of wolves in Washington at any one time could be more than 100.
And surely the number will be considerably higher after mid-April when this year's crop of pups emerges from their dens.
- See my story on the process of trapping a wolf for research monitoring.
Wolves are a cash cow for animal rights-type groups as long as the species is threatened or endangered.
While I take in all sides of the debate on wolf reintroduction, it's important to realize that for some interests there's no money in declaring a species recovered.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Gray wolves established four new packs and expanded their territory in Washington over the past year, state wildlife managers told the state Fish and Wildlife Commission at a public meeting in Moses Lake today.
Coming Sunday, March 9, in The Spokesman-Review's Sunday Outdoors section: A package of stories about Washington wolf status and monitoring.
- Washington confirms 4 new wolf packs
- My feature story on the process of trapping a wolf for research monitoring.
- A photo story about the capture and monitoring of Wolf 47, which led to the confirmation of a new wolf pack in Washington.
Click “continue reading” to see the media release the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife issued today, March 8, 2013, regarding the updated satus of wolves in Washington:
PREDATORS — Idaho Fish and Game estimates that last month’s wolf control action in the Lolo elk zone cost approximately $30,000 resulting in the taking of 23 wolves in an effort to bring back the struggling elk herd.
The entire cost will be paid using license dollars paid by sportsmen and women. Fish and Game receives no state general tax dollars.
I have a problem with much of the news coverage of this event, including the story moved by the Associated Press out of Boise. A longer version of the story that ran in the S-R ran in the Missoulian. You'll notice that the story goes right from saying 23 wolves were killed to quoting the Defenders of Wildlife saying they are disappointed. OK. But where's the quote from sportsmen and outfitters who are saying thanks for trying to bring some balance? No such quote. No balance there, either.
Here's the explanation from IFG:
Fish and Game announced late last week that the agency, working in cooperation with the USDA Wildlife Services, had completed another wolf control action in northern Idaho’s Lolo elk zone near the Idaho/Montana border to improve poor elk survival in the area.
In February, Wildlife Services agents killed 23 wolves from a helicopter. The action is consistent with Idaho’s predation management plan for the Lolo elk zone, where predation is the major reason elk population numbers are considerably below management objectives.
The Lolo predation management plan is posted on the Fish and Game website:
This is the sixth agency control action taken in Lolo zone during the last four years. 25 wolves were taken in the previous five actions.
Fish and Game authorizes control actions where wolves are causing conflicts with people or domestic animals, or are a significant factor in prey population declines. Such control actions are consistent with Idaho’s 2002 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Idaho Legislature.
Fish and Game prefers to manage wolf populations using hunters and trappers and only authorizes control actions where harvest has been insufficient to meet management goals. The Lolo zone is steep, rugged country that is difficult to access, especially in winter.
In addition to the animals killed in this control action, 17 wolves have been taken by hunters and trappers in the Lolo zone during the 2013-14 season – 7 by hunting and 10 by trapping. The trapping season ends March 31, the hunting season ends June 30.
Fish and Game estimates there were 75 -100 wolves in the Lolo zone at the start of the 2013 hunting season with additional animals crossing back and forth between Idaho and Montana and from other Idaho elk zones. Fish and Game’s goal is to reduce that Lolo zone wolf population by 70 percent.
The Lolo elk population has declined drastically from 16,000 elk in 1989 to roughly 2,100 elk in 2010, when Fish and Game last surveyed the zone. Restoring the Lolo elk population will require liberal bear, mountain lion, and wolf harvest through hunting and trapping (in the case of wolves), and control actions in addition to improving elk habitat. The short-term goals in Fish and Game’s 2014 Elk Plan are to stabilize the elk population and begin to help it grow.
Here’s a link the new Elk Plan: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/?getpage=324
Helicopter crews are now capturing and placing radio collars on elk, moose, and wolves in the Lolo zone in order to continue monitoring to see whether prey populations increase in response to regulated wolf hunting, trapping and control actions.
WILDLIFE — Oregon is reporting significant growth in wolf packs in its annual status report on gray wolf recovery released Tuesday. The status reports from all the western recovery states are filed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
At the end of 2013, Oregon officials say the state had at least 64 wolves in eight packs, up from 48 wolves in six packs estimated at the end of 2012. The number of livestock killed increased to 13 confirmed kills involving three packs.
In 2009, the first year of Oregon's reports on the endangered species' recovery in the state, officials listed two packs: the Imnaha pack with 10 wolves and the Wenaha Pack with four wolves.
Washington officials say they will present their annual wolf status report at the Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting March 7-8 in Moses Lake. At the end of 2012, Washington reported up to 100 wolves in the state in nine packs.
WILDLIFE RESEARCH — The region's wildlife researchers are flying high — and low — with this week's weather.
The big dump of snow followed by clear weather is perfect for using helicopters to locate and capture critters so transmitter collars can be attached for research. Fleeing animals bog down in the snow giving the pilot and gunner the best conditions for capture.
Methods used include shooting tranquilizer darts directly from the helicopter to the animal in a low-flying chase or shooting a net from the helicopter before landing and administering the drug after subduing the animal.
Washington Fish and Wildlife staffers took advantage of the weather Monday to recapture a female wolf near Ione to replace a faulty collar that had been attached after the wolf was trapped in July. On Tuesday they caught another female wolf in the same area and attached a collar. The staffers are working to put collars on other wolves in these prime conditions.
Idaho is scrambling to get more collars on elk in the Coeur d'Alene River drainage this week for a large-scale study.
WILDLIFE RESEARCH — More elk are likely to be wearing research “necklaces” in the Coeur d'Alene River drainage by the end of the week if Idaho Fish and Game researches get good weather for flying.
The agency worked with a private helicopter contractor on Jan. 14-15 to tranquilized and fit transmitting collars on 22 cow elk in the Cataldo area (north and south of I-90) and in the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River.
The project design calls for a total of 45 elk to be collared in the study so that IDFG can monitor survival rates, habitat use and seasonal movements. If weather is suitable for flying, additional elk will be collared on Friday, Feb. 28, and Saturday, March 1.
Cow elk are being captured with either nets or tranquilizer darts depending upon the terrain and density of the forest canopy, said Phil Cooper, department spokesman. Once an elk is restrained or under anesthesia, a handler fits the animal with a GPS collar. Blood and fecal samples are taken for disease and pregnancy surveillance. An estimate of each animal’s age is made by a tooth examination and a measure of body condition is taken. The elk is then released at the capture site and the search for another elk begins.
Read on for more details from Cooper about the research and the status report of the initial 22 elk that were collared.
WILDLIFE — About 107,000 elk roam in Idaho today, a stark contrast to a century ago when elk numbers were so low officials had to declare a moratorium on elk hunting in parts of the state.
In 1909, concerned about the decline in elk, deer and game birds, Boise National Forest Supervisor Emile Grandjean asked the State Legislature to establish a 220,000-acre game preserve in the Payette River drainage west of the Sawtooth Mountains.
The Legislature approved the preserve on March 13, 1909, and it became the first of many game preserves especially designed to restore wildlife to Idaho.
It would be off-limits to hunting and trapping – except that cougars, lynx, wolves and coyotes could be killed by wardens. Forest rangers would act as deputy game wardens.
Read more about game preserves and fish and wildlife management efforts in the series of stories marking the Idaho Fish and Game Department's 75th anniversary.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — In December, Parks Canada posted this time-lapse video from a trail camera in Waterton Lakes National Park spanning over a four-month period when the area was closed to hikers as a result of flood damage.
See how the animals took advantage of a human-free trail and used it for an easy travel route.
How many species do you count?
CONSERVATION — A Spokane man who won a big lottery jackpot put wildlife on the top of his list of benefactors from the windfall.
Kelly Cruz, 53, a local carpenter, scored a win in the Lucky for Life scratch ticket and will receive $1,000 a week for life.
That's a bit short of the mega millions jackpots we hear about every few months, but still a nice security blanket for anyone to win and still enough to give a man a shot at opening his wallet to a worthy cause.
According to today's story in The Spokesman-Review:
“With the money, he plans to buy a lifetime membership in the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and probably will give to more causes. But he doesn’t plan to move or make major changes in his life.
The Missoula-based RMEF, which has about 200,000 members, raises money and recruits volunteers to improve habitat for a wide range of wildlife, especially elk, across the country. A lifetime membership will set Cruz back for a week and a half of lottery winnings — a noble share to the cause.
Since it was founded in 1984, RMEF has:
- Protected and enhanced more than 6.4 million acres
- Opened and/or secured for public access for hunting and other outdoor recreation more than 667,000 acres
The group also has organized more than 8,500 projects for permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration, conservation education and hunting heritage.
Former USFWS biologist: Wyoming elk feedgrounds disaster in the making
Bruce Smith, a longtime biologist at the National Elk Refuge, gives Idaho credit for phasing out its elk feeding operations and said that Wyoming's persistence in continuing to feed elk during the winter will likely cause an epidemic of chronic wasting disease, which is always fatal, and could force the state to kill a large number of animals to stop the spread of the disease.
— Jackson Hole News & Guide
HUNTING — A friend sent a message of holidays woe that only a lifelong hunter, who knows the odds of bagging a trophy bull elk, can fully appreciate.
Read a Christmas letter today from a guy I hunted with a few times, back in the '80s. This year he shot a record-book bull elk at 11 yards in the first half-hour of the archery season. He took the head to a Thurston County taxidermist for mounting. On December 5, my friend, a lieutenant in the Olympia Fire Department, heard that the shop was on fire. Later, he drove out to take a look and noticed that there were few remains of any mounts in the ashes.
The fire since has been ruled an arson to cover a burglary, and the biggest trophy of Brian's life is gone.
HUNTING — I'm not big on contests that promote killing predators, but it's almost humorous to watch the reaction to the two-day wolf-coyote hunting derby being promoted for Dec. 28-29, out of Salmon, ID.
The controversy is like putting a spotlight on the extremist views of wolf reintroduction and the perpetuation of myths about wolves.
Sunday's story by the Associated Press did a decent job of pointing out the claims and the BS.
“This is a wolf massacre,” said Wayne Pacelle, the Washington, D.C.-based animal-rights group’s president, in a letter to members Thursday that was geared more to fundraising opportunity than to reality.
- Fact: Only 1-3 wolves are likely to be killed by the 300 or so hunters who are predicted to sign up. Wolf hunting has proved to be very difficult as detailed by Idaho Fish and Game Department wolf harvest statistics.
Shane McAfee, who guides clients on hunts around Salmon, Idaho, organized the derby mainly to boost local business and raise awareness about a parasite he believes could be transmitted from wolf feces to domestic dogs and possibly humans.
- Facts: “Echinococcus granulosis is one of many naturally occurring parasites that occur in wildlife,” said Idaho state epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn. Human infections are rarely reported in Idaho. A firm link between humans and wolves isn’t established.
- A human would have to come into oral contact with a wolf’s feces to contract the tapeworm, a WSU expert says.
- A 2011 report produced by Mark Drew, state wildlife veterinarian with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, found just a few documented human cases that may have originated in Idaho. All were reported before wolves were reintroduced 18 years ago.
- In 2011, Hahn issued a call to Idaho’s medical community for possible cases as concerns among some wolf foes surfaced about the parasite being transmitted to humans from the predators.
- In an interview last week, Hahn told the AP that effort found human cases in Idaho among people who had brought the parasite in from other countries, but no evidence of transmission in Idaho.
People concerned about the parasite should take appropriate precautions, she said: Treat their dogs and cats for tapeworm, practice good hygiene, avoid harvesting sick animals, and wear rubber gloves when field dressing wild game, among other things.
“Precautions for Echinococcus are really no different than for a host of other diseases that occur naturally in the environment and can infect humans.”
Marv Hoyt is set to retire from his position at the end of this month following and Idaho Fish and Game Department investigation that led to his admissions last month that he illegally killed and wasted two elk, coalition staff confirmed to the Journal.
PREDATORS — State wildlife officials have hired a hunter to eliminate two wolf packs in a federal wilderness area in central Idaho because officials say they are eating too many elk calves, according to the Associated Press.
Fish and Game Bureau Chief Jeff Gould tells the Idaho Statesman that hunters are having a difficult time getting into the Frank Church-River of No Return wilderness, so the agency hired hunter-trapper Gus Thoreson of Salmon to kill the wolves in the Golden and Monumental packs.
The U.S. Forest Service allowed the state agency to use an airstrip and cabin in the Payette National Forest as a base.
Fish and Game paid $22,500 for aerial killing of 14 wolves in the Lolo area in 2012. Gould said Monday he didn’t know how much the agency would end up paying for Thoreson’s salary and expenses.
HUNTING — A mess of elk were slaughtered or wounded in a youth elk hunt that was marred by greedy adults last week in the Bitterroot Valley south of Missoula
The story by the Ravali Republic is among the saddest reports on sport hunting I've read all year.
Click “continue reading” and check it out if you want to ruin your day.
POACHING — Rewards of up to $5,000 are being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally shooting a cow elk recently and leaving it to waste on private land between Moscow and Troy.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — I don't have a crystal ball, but this one was an easy call.
The spike elk featured toying dangerously with a photographer in a video that went viral this month has been euthanized by Great Smoky National Park officials. The elk had become too accustomed to people and was posing a danger.
My blog post called it like it was — a death sentence.
Here's the latest update, which ends with the photographer whining that he's tired of being blamed.
Idaho Fish, Game Commission hears complaints about wolves
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission began its quarterly meeting in Jerome Wednesday, and at a public forum that evening, about half of the dozen residents that spoke up said they blamed wolves for the lack of elk.
The meeting continues today with both the westslope cutthroat trout management plan and an update of the 1999 elk management plan on the agenda.
—Twin Falls Times-News
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Serious wildlife photographers are not amused by this latest viral video of a man who exposed himself to serious danger with a yearling “spike” elk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
One lunge and the man could have lost an eye or been killed. This is stupid, and the people who sat and watched are equally stupid.
The man made the initial error by getting too far from a vehicle and leaving himself exposed to the elk's advance.
The videographer who posted the video on YouTube apparently doesn't like the criticism going out on the internet and he/she deleted it from this post.
- See the ABC news story with footage from the video plus an interview with the photographer, James York.
We already posted the news of the spike elk that Western Montana wildlife officials dispatched this fall after it became too aggressive around people who tried to treat it like a pet.
Comments from professional wildlife photographers include:
This is the kind of idiot that prompts excessive and overbearing rules for photographers in national parks, wildlife refuges, etc.The guy could have easily stood up, waved his hat and yelled at the bull, but no, he had to play with it. I'm sure he thought that such behavior was cute. What would not have been cute is when the bull lowered one of those antlers (or both) and impaled him through the chest…
- The guy is not a nature photographer; he is an idiot…
- Sadly if the guy had gotten killed or even seriously injured, the bull would have been killed…
- I seriously hope that the park where this took place look long and hard at prosecuting the guy in any way they can…
—Tim Christie, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
HUNTING — There's sad news in this comment by Capt. Dan Rahn in the weekly Washington Fish and Wildlife police report for far-eastern Washington following the opening weekend of elk hunting season:
Every officer commented on the overall decline in hunter numbers combined with an apparent aging of the hunter population as a whole.
On the other hand, it's good news for the hunters who continue to pursue elk — less competition overall, and especially in the hard-hunting spots where many elk tend to hide during the season.
HUNTING — Congratulations! You finally killed that trophy specimen that eluded you for many seasons and countless hunts. You made celebratory stops at your buddy’s house and then the local meat processor. The taxidermist is next. But, unlike your previous hunts, this time there’s another consideration—entering your trophy into the Boone and Crockett Club’s records book.
The Boone and Crockett Club records program is the only North American harvest data system that collects information on all species of free-ranging native North American big game taken in fair chase.
Getting listed in the world’s most distinguished hunting-records book involves official measuring, paperwork and a $40 processing fee, all detailed at www.boone-crockett.org, but the rewards are considerable.
Read on for the club's top five reasons to enter a trophy in “the book.”
HUNTING — “Did you get your elk?” a colleague asked this morning as I returned to the office after eight days away in the Blue Mountains.
“Yes,” I nodded enthusiastically.
“How many?” my co-worker continued.
I grimaced slightly.
“I'm not a hunter,” he noted.
HUNTING — Outdoors blog posts were downscaled the past 10 days while I focused on filling my elk tag with hunting partner Jim Kujala.
After eight days in our Blue Mountains camp and on the sixth day of the season, I finally dialed in on the elusive elk and scored.
Lot's of work after that shot: 10 hours to get the meat boned-out and packed up and out of a canyon to a closed road and carted back to camp.
Next was 6 hours of meat trimming on the tailgate of the pickup while Jim continued to hunt.
Then another 4 hours of cutting, wrapping and freezing at home. Yum, maybe that's why elk tastes so good to me.
The clean, hairless scraps from all the boning and trimming sessions went into bags bound for the butcher to be ground into smoked German sausage and the best hamburger money can't buy.
Lesson relearned: Always have a weather-band radio in camp, especially when you're hunting for more than a week in high areas of the Blue Mountains and Yakima region where a sudden big storm — like the one forecast for last night — could make getting out of the mountains hazardous. The area-specific weather reports were very helpful in our day-to-day hunting strategies, and prompted our sensible departure a day earlier than planned.
WILDLIFE — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation says it is transferring $223,943 in grants and other funding to help boost elk habitat programs in Idaho, including $50,000 for the wolf management program.
The funding is directed mostly to nine counties including Boundary, Clearwater, Latah and Shoshone.
Projects include controlled burns and weed control to boost big-game forage with the goal of reestablishing healthy elk habitat and populations, RMEF officials said.
“It’s no secret elk populations and habitat declined over the last few decades in north-central Idaho. RMEF is stepping up funding and research efforts and working with our partners to address improvements,” said David Allen, RMEF president. “We are also increasing our efforts to assist and strengthen the state’s wolf management program.”
WILDLIFE — Most hunters know the difference, but in casual conversation it's not uncommon to hear reference to something like a bull elk with “horns” that raked the sky. An elk has antlers, but the colloquial term “horns” rolls easier off the tongue.
Nevertheless, even sportsmen have misperceptions about what it takes to grow antlers and why not every deer and elk that reaches maturity will sport massive headgear, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists.
Here are some basics.
Antlers grow on male members of the deer family, including deer, elk and moose. They fall off each year during winter and grow back during spring and summer.
Horns are permanent growing features on the heads of mountain goats, bighorn sheep and bison.
- Male and female caribou, which are in the deer family, both have antlers.
- Antelope have horns but they shed the outer covering or sheath each year.
Genetics and nutrition play major roles in horn growth. Generally, genetics determine the form of antlers while nutrition dictates their size. Some deer or elk simply lack the bloodlines to grow trophy-class racks of multiple points and width no matter what they're fed.
A study of white-tailed deer compared the offspring of yearling bucks with relatively large branched antlers versus yearlings with only spikes. Because both sets of deer were captive in the controlled experiment they were fed identical diets. The yearlings with larger antlers sired only 5 percent spikes, while the spike yearlings produced 44 percent spike antlered yearlings.
However, one study of mule deer has shown that in wet years, which mean increased availability of food, there are fewer spike bucks and larger number of yearlings with forked antlers.
Bottom line: The highest scoring trophy big-game usually are produced from a combination of good genetics and nutrition.
HUNTING — I traded emails a few years ago with a local hunter named Dennis regarding the feelings we experience when we are skillful and/or lucky enough to fill our big-game tags. I've kept his last note as a reminder of the fence many sportsmen walk as we make the ultimate decision to squeeze the trigger:
Being a hunter, and growing older makes for constant reflection in my justification for pursuing and dispatching warm-blooded animals. Many of my friends have quit as they age. I guess we tend to become more in touch with our mortality, and find ourselves wanting to preserve life rather than ending it.
I harvested a nice mature buck this year, and although I hit him hard in the vital zone, I had to follow up and apply the coup de grace. I told my son just how I felt standing there, that it gave me no pleasure to put an end to that animal's life. Were it not for the great tablefare it provided, and the time I got to enjoy with my son in the field, I would have left the rifle in the cabinet and found something else to do.
HUNTING — Numerous comments have come in regarding my Sunday Outdoors feature, “Milking the Cow Elk Tag,” a story about what to do with the most coveted permit you never hear a hunter brag about.
Following are phrases in the story that are triggering most of the “right on” and “I remember when” comments in the reader response:
“Can’t eat antlers,” my dad often said. Living through the Great Depression instilled that attitude. It served our family well.
I’ve never seen a cow elk featured on the cover of Field & Stream or Outdoor Life, yet every ordinary-guy elk hunter I know applies for a cow tag.
Maybe this is why hunters don’t gloat when they draw a cow tag. How humiliating would it be if you didn’t fill it.
My luck changed on the last morning of the season, verifying once again that getting into elk is all about putting in the time.
Following an elk down a slope in the Blue Mountains is like flirting with your best friend’s spouse. There’s no easy way out of the situation, and you make things much worse if you score.
E=mc2: That is, Eating quality equals Miles wild meat must be packed out by muscle power multiplied by the number of Contour lines crossed, squared.
I left the mountains, not with a rack to hang on the wall, but with a trophy for the freezer.
WILDLIFE — After a motorcyclist was chased by a bull elk near Ovando, Mont., (see video above) Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks officers euthanized the animal a few days ago.
Certainly the animal was posing a danger to high-speed traffic on Highway 200.
While the bull was in the rut — and that likely changed his behavior short term — it's also been reported that people were giving it food along the highway, which likely aggravated the problem.
In case you still haven't got the message repeat in often by wildlife experts and in this blog: FEEDING WILD ANIMALS KILLS THEM.
See a TV news report after the bull was killed.
POACHING — Officers from three enforcement agencies worked together to make a case and a male suspect has been charged for illegally killing a trophy bull elk in Pend Oreille County.
Charles I. Fraley, 27, of Ione has been charged by the county prosecutor with unlawful big game hunting in the second degree, according to District Court clerks. Fraley's arrainment is set for Friday, Oct. 11, at 1 p.m.
- Fraley is not a new face to officers investigating wildlife crimes. In 2009, he was charged for killing a common loon.
While the illegal killing of a bull other hunters dream a lifetime of tagging is upsetting, the interesting part of the story is the teamwork of three agencies to make the citation.
According to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife enforcement report:
WDFW Officer Don Weatherman responded to a report of a trophy bull elk being shot with a rifle during the archery season near Ione. A Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Deputy already had a person of interest standing by to speak with Weatherman when he arrived on scene.
Weatherman interviewed the male subject, who had driven into the area where the 6x6 trophy elk had been shot. In the meantime, the Sheriff's Deputy and Border Patrol Agents, who were also on scene, went in search of shell casings in an area of interest and were successful in locating evidence critical to the case!
The Border Patrol Agents also assisted with the use of a tracking dog to backtrack the subject's activities away from his vehicle.After interviewing the subject, the young male admitted to shooting the bull with his rifle, which was stashed in the woods after the elk was shot and before he returned to his vehicle. The subject then took officers to the rifle as well as the area where he had fired the deadly shot.
Charges have been filed.All of the meat was salvaged and donated to the Ione Food Bank.