Still On The Subject Of Polar Bear


Published: August - 2006

Still on the subject of polar bears, you may have heard about the polar/grizzly cross recently taken by Idaho hunter Jim Martell. Seems he initially faced some serious charges for taking this unusual specimen. Western correspondent and fellow Idahoan Harry Moorse caught up with Martell to get the full story, which we summarize herewith.

Martell killed his trophy in the Northwest Territories (NWT) this past April with guide Roger Kuptana, booking agent. It was Martell's second polar bear hunt this season. Seems his first hunt was a complete bust due to some problems with the guide and a lack of game in the area they hunted. Adventures Northwest sent Martell back to the ice a month later with Kuptana, who put him on the polar/grizzly bear after a week of hunting in the subzero temperatures of southern Banks Island. The bear looked like a mid-sized polar bear boar out hunting on the ice. Closer examination of the bear's white fur, however, showed mottled brown patches, and its eyes were set inside thin circles of black skin. It also bore some distinctly grizzly-like features, including long claws, a humped back and a dished face. Authorities from the NWT Environment and Natural Resources Department promptly confiscated the bear and threatened to charge Martell with illegally shooting a grizzly bear, for which he could have been fined $1,000 and sent to jail for a one-year term.

DNA analysis, however, confirmed that it was the first cross-bred polar and grizzly bear ever verified from the wild. Natural Resources returned the trophy to Martell, who now has the most unusual Arctic trophy on earth. He is having it mounted in Yellowknife and has applied for import imports, which may take months if not a year or longer to obtain. His guide, who has been hunting bears for 40 years, says he has never seen anything like it.

Although polar/grizzly crosses have occurred in captivity, there is only one other report of such a cross in the wild. That bear was taken in 1864 at Rendezvous Lake, Barren Grounds,........(continued)

 
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