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Wild lives and wildlife

IDAHO

Some poachers don't understand the meaning of the word, or maybe they just can't accept that they can be caught in the act. Rex Rammell, a Republican who recently ran for governor of Idaho, was stopped by a state Fish and Game agent last November just as he was hauling out an elk he'd shot. When the agent asked for Rammell's license, Rammell produced an expired tag for a completely different part of the state. And when the agent moved to confiscate the elk, Rammell replied, "You better get your gun out, because you're going to have to shoot me if you want this elk," reports the Idaho Statesman. Rammell's defense was novel: He said the state couldn't take his elk until he's proven guilty. Rammell, who received 42,000 votes in the election, has become known for incendiary language, calling state Fish and Game agents "Nazis," urging residents to shoot any and all wolves, and "joking" about buying "Obama tags" during hunting season. Another Idaho poaching story involves a father-son duo, George M. Kelley, 75, and son George "Bill" Kelley, 53, who own a domestic elk farm. That didn't stop them from poaching an elk on public land, reports the Twin Falls Times-News. An eyewitness notified Idaho Fish and Game officers that the Kelleys had placed a tag from one of the family's domestic elk on a wild animal they'd shot. "Poaching is a huge problem within this whole state," conservation officer Chad Wipperman said. "Thank goodness for honest citizens."

THE WEST

It's really a sad story, but at least it didn't end with a drugged bunch of bears careering around Yellowstone National Park. Tracy Province, a convicted killer who escaped from an Arizona prison, planned to commit suicide by bear at Yellowstone, by first drugging himself on heroin and then assuming bears would stumble on his body and eat him. Luckily, "a voice told him not to go through with the plan," reports the Arizona Republic. Province's plan probably wouldn't have worked: Park spokesman Al Nash said that although bears eat just about anything, the chances of bear-human encounters are slim. As for Province, life on the outside seemed terrifying to him: He discovered that he'd forgotten how to drive a car, and even worse, "everyone drives too fast now," as he said after he was recaptured.

From our friends

HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor

Serious words from a devoted reader:

"I've been a big fan of HCN since a friend first donated a subscription to me...I've received piles of HCN on at least four continents at this point. So, you see, the printed magazine, in the past 20 years, has become part of the warp and weft of my life and I am unwilling to leave it behind..."

Paul Brockmann, constant traveler