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from the Casper Star Tribune, Casper Wyoming


Angler catches bear attack on film

Sunday, August 10, 2003

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) -- Rich Smith filmed a rare scene while fishing on the Clearwater River as he watched a black bear bring down a deer fawn.

While fishing recently for salmon on the South Fork, the Lewiston angler and a friend spotted the brown-colored bruin burst from the vegetation on the far shore. Smith had his video camera in case the men landed a salmon.

"Just about the time I got my camera out, a fawn jumped out from the bushes and he chased her," he said. "She was running along the river. He caught up and just jumped on top of her."

Bears often are blamed for killing large numbers of elk calves in the Clearwater River Basin. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is trying to determine whether bear predation on elk calves is keeping the herds from rebounding there.

It is believed bears are not effective predators after elk are about a month old, and biologists believe it is probably the same with deer, even though deer are smaller then elk.

"It's rare for them to catch an elk this time of year," Fish and Game biologist Pete Zager said. "My first inclination is, yeah, that would be unusual."

Smith said the deer appeared small and had a broken leg. It is not known if the fawn was injured before the bear was chasing it or if the predator caused the injury.

Copyright 2003 by the Casper Star-Tribune

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