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Thursday, February 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Out & About: Salt baiting Illegal in Idaho

Alaska author Erin McKittrick is in town to talk about her book.
Alaska author Erin McKittrick is in town to talk about her book.

OUTLAW – Elk and deer are crazy for salt, and that craving, exploited by unethical and illegal hunters, is getting them killed, according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officers.

Predators such as wolves, mountain lions and bears have learned staking out a salt lick leads to an easy meal.

“Folks really get upset with predators and what wolves are doing to our wild populations, and justly so, but when you put an illegal salt out, what you have done is made predators, including wolves, very effective,” Barry Cummings, senior conservation officer in Moscow, told the Lewiston Tribune.

In Idaho, it is illegal to hunt deer and elk over salt or other baits, but many hunters do it anyway.

The sites, because they are so attractive to deer and elk, have a huge potential to spread disease as animals congregate and lick the block or the soil once the salt leaches into it.

They also tend to tear up the ground. For that reason, it is also illegal under federal law to place salt baits on National Forest land or property under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management.

Last year, Cummings busted a father-and-son hunting team from Potlatch. They ended up pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges, were fined hundreds of dollars, had their bows and tree stands confiscated and lost hunting privileges for a year.

In Washington, it is not illegal to use salt or other baits, as long as it isn’t on federal land.

Alaska trekkers at Auntie’s today

OUTPARENT Alaskan author Erin McKittrick and her family, who are all traveling by camper van from Alaska through California on a book tour, will present a program today, 1 p.m., at Aunties Bookstore in Spokane. 

Mountaineers Books this month published her title, “Small Feet, Big Land: Adventure, Home, and Family on the Edge of Alaska.”

Erin and her husband have two little kids who feature strongly in their stories and presentation, so their events are free and family-friendly.

Also of note, Erin and her family are the subject of a  Banff Mountain Film Festival film this year, a short piece called “Life on Ice” which follows them as they lived a few months on the Malaspina Glacier in Alaska. 

Environmental film screens at Gonzaga

OUTSEE – The Gonzaga University Environmental Studies program is inviting the public to a free discussion-stimulating presentation of the environmental film, “ A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet.”

The film will be screened Monday, 5:30 p.m., at Jepson Center, Wolff Auditorium.

Shown at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the film explores 50 years of environmental activism.

Director Mark Kitchell – whose previous film,  Berkeley in the 60s, was nominated for an Academy Award – will lead discussions between film segments. 

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