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Black bear hunters can test identification skills online

From the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

-- Black bear hunters can test their bear species identification skills through a new interactive program on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/bear_cougar/bear.

It includes information on how to correctly identify black bears and grizzly bears, and gives hunters a chance to test identification skills.

Grizzly bears are protected under state and federal endangered species laws, but 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 northeast district wildlife biologist. "We encourage hunters to test their knowledge about the two species before going afield."

Hunting season for black bear opened 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 north central Washington and south central British Columbia.

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