Turkey and grizzly bears

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Dennis Clay

This is the last of a two-part series about endangered species and other Washington wildlife.

The 24 Washington wolf packs are in Eastern Washington. Not one is in Western Washington.

Yep, this is my problem. It is time to ship a few of the critters to the Westside. Fish and Wildlife staff have informed me there was movement, or at least discussion, in the state legislature about getting some wolves to the other side, specifically somewhere in the Southwest corner. This would be a great step forward.

Fish and Wildlife and the Feds need to allow us to hunt wolves. This would instill a fear of man into the wolf population. This may not happen until packs are established on the Westside and the critters begin chewing on a few prized goats, sheep or horses. Then the Westsiders will be yelling for the death of wolves.

Attempts by Fish and Wildlife to reestablish a wolf population must be considered a success, but we need to spread the successful afterglow throughout the state.

Turkeys

Another species considered a success by this writer is the wild turkey. This bird is not native to Washington, but they are a great addition.

A hunter can tag seven birds a year, because there are so many of them. Basically, two toms can be taken in the spring hunt, four in the fall hunt and one on the westside of the state.

Now the concern is population control. The fall hunt bag limit includes four birds, with two beardless and two either sex. This means a hunter could take four beardless (hens) or two beardless and two toms.

The fall turk hunt is a great hunt for youth or hunters with little experience.

Grizzly bears

The next critter the federal government is seeking to reintroduce is the grizzly bear. The North Cascades National Park is the targeted area.

One of their plans is to do nothing, another is to establish a goal of 200 bears within 100 years or less. A third has 200 animals living in the Cascades in 25 years.

My feelings shy away from a reintroduction. Instead let the bears find their own way to Washington. Bears can cause a lot more problems than wolves.

Biologists say there are enough square miles to have these bears live in isolation in the North Cascades. Maybe, maybe not.

The mountain range in Washington is a bit different from the vast Rocky Mountains. The Cascades are 80 miles wide, while the Rocky Mountains are 300 miles wide.

Leave the griz where they are. We will let them enter Washington on their own, but donít helicopter them to our remote areas.

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