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Grizz shot in Selway-Bitterroot

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Grizz shot in Selway-Bitterroot

Postby Cutty » Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:04 pm

I thought the Eastern contingent might have missed this...first Grizz confirmed in the Selway-Bitterroot since 1946. I think Topocamp got the last one himself. Just wanted to give you something to think about while you're packin' out that second quarter on a moonless night...those howls comin' from the ridgetop are the least of your worries... :o


Grizzly shot in Selway-Bitterroot
By PERRY BACKUS of the Missoulian



For the first time in decades, people venturing into the sprawling Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem are going to be told to keep their eyes peeled for grizzly bears.

That change follows the killing of a large grizzly bear in a roadless area of north-central Idaho, where the last confirmed sighting of the species came in 1946.

The grizzly was shot Sept. 3 by a Tennessee hunter near Kelly Creek, about three miles from the Montana border.


The hunter was on a guided trip hunting black bear over bait, which is legal in Idaho. The guide wasn't present when the grizzly was shot.

The bear was a young 400- to 500-pound male that was between 6 and 9 years old, said Chris Servheen, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's grizzly bear recovery coordinator.

“It was dark-colored with golden silver tips,” Servheen said. “It was very visibly a grizzly bear. The hunter was very regretful. It was shot in a place where he wasn't expecting to encounter a grizzly.

“There's been no documentation of a grizzly bear there for more than 60 years,” he said.

It's hard to tell where the bear came from or how long it had been there.

“The area is excellent grizzly bear habitat,” Servheen said. “The bear could have been there for a long period of time without anyone knowing it was there.”

Kelly Creek is in a 250,000-acre roadless area known as the Great Burn.

Wildlife officials have long thought grizzly bears would eventually repopulate the area on their own.

The bear's DNA will be tested in an attempt to determine if it originated from either the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem or the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem, which includes Glacier National Park.

Servheen said it's likely there could be other grizzly bears in the area.

“If one bear was able to make its way there, I think it's very likely that others could, too,” he said.

That fact could change the way people use portions of the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem.

“The whole mind-set starts changing now that people may see a grizzly in the area,” he said.

Both federal and state wildlife managers are already making plans to let people know they might encounter a grizzly bear, and to emphasize that the bears remain protected under the Endangered Species Act in this area.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lifted Endangered Species Act protections for grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park this spring. But the dead bear wasn't part of that population.

Officials say the shooting remains under investigation.

In the meantime, Servheen said signs telling bear hunters to take a good hard look at their target before pulling the trigger will be going up at area trailheads.

“Now that we have documentation, we're making great efforts to ensure that people know that grizzly bears could be in the area, especially hunters,” Servheen said. “We will be widely distributing signs to make people aware that grizzly bears are here.”

Officials may look at other ways to protect grizzlies in the Selway-Bitterroot.

“I've already put together a two-page list of issues that need to be discussed,” Servheen said. “We're meeting today to talk about some of those.”

The Friends of the Clearwater, a conservation group based in Moscow, Idaho, said the grizzly bear death was no surprise. In a letter to Servheen, the group said there have been reports of grizzly bears in the Bitterroot Mountains dating back into the late 1990s.

With confirmation in hand of grizzlies in the area, the group called on federal and state wildlife managers to take “swift action” to prevent further grizzly deaths from mistaken identity.

Its suggestions included requiring black bear hunters and outfitters using the area to receive training in bear identification. The group wants wildlife officials to inspect every bear killed in the area.

The group also wants the Fish and Wildlife Service to review Idaho's black bear hunting regulations that allow for baiting and hounding of bears, spring and fall hunting, and a liberal “take” in the Clearwater Basin.

“The huge number of black bear permits, the long seasons, and the fact that baiting and hounding are allowed in hunting black bears makes it even more likely tragedies like this will happen in the future,” said Will Boyd, Friends of the Clearwater's education director. “The Fish and Wildlife Service and Idaho Department of Fish and Game must change black bear hunting policies to make them friendly to grizzly recovery.”
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Re: Grizz shot in Selway-Bitterroot

Postby Hornseeker » Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:49 pm

Burgess will know where that is for sure... not qutie Selway-Bitt...but close.

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Re: Grizz shot in Selway-Bitterroot

Postby topcamp » Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:00 am

if it is true that it was shot around the headwaters of kelly creek...[3 miles mt line]......that puts it in the rhodes peak/cache saddle area. we trailhead out of where kelly creek joins the north fork of the clearwater..........it doesn't come as any surpise .......it's just been kept quiet. if you look at the map......the mission range and the cabinets to the north have good grizz populations and are natural feeder corridors with fairly easy access to clearwater area.......now there was a reason we had bear identification posted and gone over at all camps and i find it really inept that one goes bear hunting out west without being up to speed on the difference between the big bears and blacks........what you can shoot and what you can't unless your about to become dinner........now i have run into both up on the rez in the mission range, but have never seen a live one hunting the clearwater.......my outfitter friend has, but he spends a lot of his year back in there. i have cut bear tracks that no black bear in the clearwater every made size wise........and found an elk kill once that was covered up like no cat kill i ever come accross.....a cat simply couldn't haul around the stuff that was covering the remains of this kill.

all of this just adds to the want and why of being there with stick and string........puts the primitive back in your dna.........that area is one of the last great wild places left in the us............most of the time i'm there .........i spend for to much time just going over the next ridge to see what i can see.....to hear what i can hear instead of all out serious elk hunting. it's as hard a country to move in that one will encounter hunting anywheres in this country........and probably one of the last places left on earth that one does have the possibility of putting one's foot down on a piece of ground that no other human being has set foot on.........

i found a pocket of the old giant cedars there ........way deep down in a hole......[actually the hole i'm comming out of on horseback in that photo heading up one of the forums on the original pirate site].........the cedars where as big around as my den, i mean they are cabin size .........it is totally as close to a true natural cathedral as you will ever enter on this planet. the great burn just jumped over that hole and those big cedars just go on watching the world go buy in silence.......the place was loaded with elk and we called it the bull hole.......but you had to go way down in to find the cedars.......even my outfitter friend had never seen them.......

it's an area that can handle grizz...........why else would anyone want to go into an area like that if it didn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up.........and actually it's the young male tom that i don't see that always gives me more pause out there than any other critter if i dicide to curl up solo for the night in a space blanket.......that and dead snag lodgepoles, but that's another story.
the more we know about the " how " and the " why " of..........the less we see and notice about the " now " of the " when "...
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on that day.......you wake up and never more what was .......will ever be again.
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Re: Grizz shot in Selway-Bitterroot

Postby Cutty » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:42 am

"why else would anyone want to go into an area like that if it didn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up"

Exactly, Burgess. I was kind of hoping that might spark a few memories, and I got more than I had hoped for. Great stuff as usual. I haven't spent nearly the time back in the Selway that I'd like to, and the thought of doing so when my sons get old enough to come with me is one of the few things that can still sharpen up my senses just thinking about it. I can think of nothing I'd like to do more, than to take them to those cedars some day.

Thanks again.
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Re: Grizz shot in Selway-Bitterroot

Postby Feral Donkey » Wed Sep 26, 2007 1:10 pm

That's it!! You guys are taking me on a hike. You guys have got to show me this stuff, pretty pretty please. :D Is this all government land?
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Re: Grizz shot in Selway-Bitterroot

Postby topcamp » Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:15 pm

it's "your land"..........all national forest..........probably the most rugged national forest in the whole program.
the more we know about the " how " and the " why " of..........the less we see and notice about the " now " of the " when "...
_tc...on the inflation of life

on that day.......you wake up and never more what was .......will ever be again.
_tc on growing old
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