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  • This article by Betsy Marston originally appeared in the Mar 03, 2011 issue of High Country News.
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Topic: Flora & Fauna     Department: Heard Around the West     Comments: 0

NON-SUBSCRIBER PREVIEW

Wild lives and wildlife

News: Mar 03, 2011
by Betsy Marston

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.

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