August 30, 2011
OLYMPIA - Black bear hunters can test their bear species identification skills through a new interactive program on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) website.
The program, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/bear_cougar/bear, includes information on how to correctly identify black bears and grizzly bears, and gives hunters a chance to test their identification skills.
Grizzly bears are protected under state and federal endangered species laws. Whereas black bears are classified as a game species.
"This test was developed to help black bear hunters be sure of their targets," said Dana Base, a WDFW northeast district wildlife biologist. "We encourage hunters to test their knowledge about the two species before going afield."
Hunting season for black bear opens Sept. 1 in several areas of the state, including the northeast district, where hunters sometimes encounter grizzly bears. That district spans Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry counties and includes game management units 101-121.
Up to 50 grizzlies are estimated to roam the Selkirk Mountains of northeast Washington, north Idaho and southeastern British Columbia. Less than a dozen are believed to roam the North Cascades of northcentral Washington and southcentral British Columbia.