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Grizzly bear case inspires politicos to take shots at federal regs

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service file photo of a grizzly bear.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service file photo of a grizzly bear.

More details are coming out about the north Idaho man accused of killing a grizzly bear on his property. That's spurring Idaho politicians to take aim at the federal government and the environmental regulations the man is accused of violating.

According to the Boundary County prosecutor, Jeremy Hill called the Idaho Fish and Game office after he shot a 2-year-old male grizzly bear. Hill told the agents that three bears had wandered into his yard while his kids were playing outside.

He shot one of the bears first as it was climbing into a pigpen, and then twice more before finally killing it. State agents decided not to pursue charges against Hill.

But the federal government is pursing the case. Hill could face a year in prison and a $50,000 fine if convicted of killing a protected species.

Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho says the case has enraged constituents in a state that already has no great love for the Endangered Species Act.

"And frankly the act should be reformed in a way that makes it much more clear that a person has the right to defend themselves," Crapo says.

Some members of Idaho's congressional delegation were initially reluctant to take the uncustomary step of weighing in on a federal case. However, Senator Crapo, Senator Jim Risch and Representative Raul Labrador are now all expressing their support for Jeremy Hill.

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Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.