- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 5, 2003

The Boone & Crockett organization, which keeps track of world-record big game animals and awards records only after exhaustive checking by its agents, has erased every written word of a world record grizzly bear from Alaska that was shot in 1998 because the hunter's pals were seen riding four-wheeler swamp buggies across waters and lands that are off limits to such vehicles.

The Anchorage Daily News' Craig Medred says the keeper of records on the largest big game animals in North America has been known to erase records of animals that were determined to have been killed illegally, but even the Montana-based B&C organization admits that its latest act is unprecedented. (Applicants for world record bears submit measurements of the animal's skull to a licensed measuring agent rather than providing the weight of the bear.)

B&C spokesman Jack Reneau says the decision to expunge the record broadens the club's position on what it considers "fair chase" hunting.

The world-record grizzly shot by Chugiak hunter David Malzac near the Toklat River, just north of Denali National Park and Preserve, was struck from the records not because of what Malzac did but because of the behavior of his two hunting companions who used large-wheeled, off-road vehicles to hunt and scout in the river corridors of the area. Let that be a lesson to the users of the four-wheeled cycles.

The Daily News reported that former Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Louis Barton got upset about the use of those vehicles in 1998 after an overflight of the Toklat and Sushana rivers revealed a maze of tire tracks crisscrossing salmon spawning streams and sloughs. In some places, Barton said, it appeared someone had driven up and down the rivers and through fragile land. Barton saw the tracks while doing an aerial survey of chum salmon stocks in October. He reported the matter to the Fish and Wildlife Protection Division of the Alaska State Troopers and pushed for prosecution.

Troopers eventually charged Robert Caywood and Harold Bryant, owners of the custom-built buggies, with illegally driving in a salmon stream. Troopers also cited Malzac for illegally shooting the bear, but that charge was quickly dismissed.

All the parties agree there was never any indication that Malzac violated state hunting laws.

The use of the swamp buggies, however, became a major consideration in the record committee's conclusion that Malzac might not have taken his trophy without the illegal use of his friends' vehicles, a violation of the fair-chase ethic of the Boone & Crockett Club.

"It shows that we take fair chase very seriously," Reneau told the Daily News.

Malzac's friends were cited for driving in a salmon stream and ended up pleading no contest. There is an Alaska state statute that specifically prohibits driving in or through salmon streams.

Interested in Manitoba waterfowl? Local hunt outfitters Scott and Laura Barmby want us to know that they will once again be booking Manitoba waterfowl outings for Canada's autumn 2003 season. "We have gotten together with the most reputable and experienced outfitters in the business to provide all the services for you in Canada," writes Laura.

She has the services of full-time waterfowl, bear and whitetail deer guides who have at least 20 years of experience, with some having been featured in Ducks Unlimited magazine. The Barmbys also point out that they were able to hold prices at the same level they were in 2000.

The cost for a four-day hunt remains at $1,675; a five-day hunt, $1,975. That includes lodging (each group will have a private cabin), all meals, guides, equipment (except guns and ammo). You must pay for your own license, plus pay for an outrageous scam known as a gun import fee, which is approximately $150 that goes directly to the Canadian government.

Bag limits include 20 light geese, five dark geese, eight ducks (including canvasbacks), per hunter each day. It is common to shoot snow and Canada geese, as well as a wide variety of ducks. There also is excellent grouse hunting and fishing at no extra charge.

Available dates run from Sept. 29 through Oct. 24. Detailed booking information: [email protected], blackduckoutfitters.com; 877/607-6014.

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