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Off the wire: Week of Nov. 10

Man arrives at bar with pet alligator
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Heard the one about the guy who walked into a bar with an alligator? At Johnny's Saloon in Orange County, it was more than a joke early Saturday when a man arrived with his 3-foot pet gator on a leash.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Deal paves way for dams' removal on Western river
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — An agreement signed Thursday lays the groundwork for removing four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River to help one of the West Coast's most beleaguered salmon runs and end a longstanding environmental dispute.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


EU backs huge fine hike to combat overfishing
BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Union's executive body asked member nations on Friday to approve dramatically tougher enforcement of fishing rules to stop years of illegal catches that have devastated species such as cod and tuna.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


In bad economy, boat owners abandon their vessels
SAN FRANCISCO — From Southern California to Maine, the foundering economy, high fuel prices and poor fishing have driven boat owners to abandon perhaps thousands of vessels on the waterfront, where they are beginning to break up and sink, leaking oil and other pollutants.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Hunter fells 27-point buck using 1-shot muzzleloader
Kelly Gustafson, 23, of Welch, Minn., bagged the buck of a lifetime near her hometown Saturday, Nov. 8, the first day of the Minnesota firearms deer season. Gustafson downed the 27-point buck with one shot from her muzzeloader rifle.
Read complete story from Minneapolis-St. Paul's TwinCities.com


Dozens of Minn. hunters fined, guns confiscated for baiting deer
Dozens of Minnesota deer hunters who illegally tried to lure their quarry with bait during last weekend's opener have had their guns confiscated, paid hundreds of dollars in fines and put their hunting privileges at risk.
Read complete story from Minneapolis-St. Paul's StarTribune.com


Death on Mount Hood: A widow's quest for answers
Karen James spent more than a year reconstructing the disastrous December 2006 climb her husband made with Brian Hall and Jerry "Niko" Cooke, and has written a book, "Holding Fast: The Untold Story of the Mount Hood Tragedy," which contains previously unreleased details and was released this week.
Read complete story from The Associated Press


Saving some bucks
This past week, just a few days into the 2008-09 general white-tailed deer hunting season, state wildlife managers unwrapped a bulging package of potential changes in regulations that would impact a majority of Texas' half-million-plus deer hunters.
Read complete story from Houston's Chron.com


Hunters warned about meth labs
The Indiana State Police has a special message for civic-minded hunters tempted to clean up the woods: don't.
Read complete story from Indiana's JournalGazette.com


Minn. hunter saves another stuck in freezing muck
A central Minnesota hunter is being called a life-saver for trying to pull another hunter stuck up to his chest in a frigid slough.
Read complete story from Minneapolis-St. Paul's StarTribune.com


Hip shot drops crouching lion
With a hip shot to the head, an elk hunter killed a mountain lion that was stalking him on Crane Mountain south of Bigfork, Mont., on Sunday.
Read complete story from Montana's DailyInterLake.com


Helicopter wolf-kills help caribou calves, survey finds
Slaughtering wolves on the Alaska Peninsula appears to have had the desired effect — more caribou got a chance to live, according to biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Read complete story from SanLuisObispo.com


Hungry cougars surprise two Minn. hunters
Ted Kline and Ron Smith did what deer hunters are supposed to do — wait a few minutes before tracking a doe that Smith shot Monday morning near Culver.
Read complete story from the Duluth News Tribune


Son shoots mountain lion to save father's life
What began as an ordinary father and son hunting trip for Kellen Lancaster and his son Adam on October 7, quickly turned into an experience that most people will thankfully never have.
Read complete story from Wyoming's Star Valley Independent


Lead in grizzly blood during hunt season
Lead bullet fragments in offal piles could be poisoning Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears as they scavenge the remains of big game during hunting season, according to an ongoing study.
Read complete story from JacksonHoleNews.com


Study: Separate Great Lakes, Mississippi basins
Connections engineered more than a century ago between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed should be changed to block the advance of invasive species that can cause irreversible damage, an environmental advocacy group says.
Read complete story from The Associated Press


Record year for L.A. county pot seizures
Los Angeles County sheriff's officials announced Monday the department seized an estimated $14 billion in marijuana this season, which they believe is the largest one-year haul ever.
Read complete story from the Pasadena Star-News


Neighbor charged with harrassing hunter
BAY COUNTY, Fla. — A man was charged with harassing a hunter and trespassing after photos showed him spraying his neighbor's deer feeder with animal repellant.
Read complete story from the Daily News


Exclusive Yellowstone Club files for bankruptcy
The Yellowstone Club, an exclusive mountain retreat for the ultra-rich, said it filed for bankruptcy Monday after failing to secure new financing - underscoring that even the elite can't escape the country's current economic troubles.
Read complete story from The Associated Press


Gov't wants to change course of forest experiments
For more than a decade, the federal government has spent millions of dollars pumping elevated levels of carbon dioxide into small groups of trees to test how forests will respond to global warming in the next 50 years.
Read complete story from The Associated Press


Mont. deputies Taser mule deer buck
Missoula County sheriff's deputies turned a Taser on a mule deer buck Tuesday in order to free the animal from a rope swing near Lolo.
Read complete story from Missoulian.com


Hunters bag deer — then deer stand goes up in flames
Some deer hunters had bad luck in the Brainerd area during the weekend hunting opener — their tree stand caught on fire.
Read complete story from TwinCities.com


Wild turkey seeks sanctuary in Indianapolis church
Maybe it was just coincidence, but with Thanksgiving fast approaching, a wild turkey sought sanctuary this week at an Indianapolis church.
Read complete story from IndyStar.com


Maryland sportsmen seeks halt to wind turbines
Some hunting and fishing enthusiasts in western Maryland are seeking a moratorium on wind power development in the mountainous region.
Read complete story from The Associated Press


New Mexico official quits after illegal deer hunt
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The head of the New Mexico Game and Fish Department is resigning from his position, a month after the state Game Commission revoked his hunting license for illegally killing a deer.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Legal ivory auctions raise $15 million in Africa
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — The world's first legal ivory auctions in nearly a decade ended Thursday with four African nations selling more than 100 tons of tusks to Chinese and Japanese traders for nearly $15 million.
Read complete story from the Assiciated Press


Outdoorsmen celebrate approval of Minn. amendment
MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Duggan has spent his adult life hunting and fishing, and he's seen a lot of changes. Often not for the better. So he's hoping the constitutional amendment Minnesota voters approved Tuesday will make it easier to find places to hunt and ensure a healthy supply of game and fish for generations to come.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund started Musgrave attack early
The effort to unseat Marilyn Musgrave began unusually early this year, when a national environmental group began airing TV ads attacking her more than four months before Election Day. As the ads began running, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund said it was committed to spending at least $500,000 to oust the three-term incumbent.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Elk droppings may have sickened kids
Elk droppings in the Evergreen area contain the same strain of E. coli bacteria that sickened eight children in three mountain counties, state health officials reported today. Lab testing confirmed a genetic match between the bacteria. Health officials suspected elk droppings as a potential source of the exposure. It's not known how the elk were infected.
Read complete story from The Denver Post


Bitterroot bowhunter shoots mountain lion stalking his friend
A good hunting partner — like a good friend — always has your back. Steve Tintzman of Corvallis knows he's got a good hunting partner in Hamilton's Barry Lemon. And he's got a photograph of one big mountain lion to prove it.
Read complete story from the Ravalli Republic


FWP kills nearly dozen mountain lions that preyed on livestock
KALISPELL, Mont. — State wildlife officials have killed about a dozen mountain lions that have preyed on livestock in northwestern Montana in recent months. "We've got a pile of dead cats, without a doubt," said Eric Wenum, the state's regional wildlife conflict specialist. "This has been ongoing. It really started in mid-June. And it's been a steady trickle since."
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Sea census leads to discoveries of marine wonders
WASHINGTON — A city of brittle stars off the coast of New Zealand, an Antarctic expressway where octopuses ride along in a flow of extra salty water and a carpet of tiny crustaceans on the Gulf of Mexico sea floor are among the wonders discovered by researchers compiling a massive census of marine life.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


French scientists discover new species of gecko
PARIS — French scientists say they hatched a new gecko species from an egg plucked from its nest in a South Pacific island and carried it 12,000 miles to Paris in a box lined with Kleenex.
Read complete story from the Associated Press