Off the wire

Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves
Two Montana men who were retrieving an elk in the South Fork Flathead drainage say they ended up fending off a pack of aggressive wolves Saturday. They were forced to leave behind the elk, and they ended up killing one wolf, resulting in an investigation because wolves are still protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Read the complete story from The Daily Inter Lake.

Fla. developer charged with felony wildlife violations in Montana
Mark Morse, a top executive of the Central Florida retirement community The Villages, has been charged with felony and misdemeanor hunting violations in Montana. Morse and his wife, their daughter and five others are accused of 18 wildlife violations during hunting excursions over the past four years on Morse property in Montana. The charges include the illegal killing or possession of elk, deer, and other wildlife.
Read the complete story from The Chicago Tribune.

EPA denies petition to ban lead in fishing tackle
WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency denied on Thursday a petition by several environmental groups to ban lead in fishing tackle, two months after rejecting the groups' attempt to ban it in hunting ammunition.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Judge sets deadlines in polar bear listing case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A federal judge has given the Interior Department a Dec. 23 deadline to explain why polar bears were listed in 2008 as a "threatened" species instead of the more-protective "endangered." The written order issued Thursday by Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., follows an October hearing on multiple lawsuits challenging the "threatened" listing.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

BP's oil spill costs grow, Gulf residents react
BILOXI, Miss. -- BP PLC is once again reporting profits even with an estimated $40 billion price tag for the response to its blown out well in the Gulf of Mexico. In this waterfront city, where many lost their livelihoods to the summer of oil, a mixture of relief and melancholy greeted the news. A financially healthy BP means jobs and compensation, but residents still reeling from the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history are waiting for some good news of their own.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Jet ski killing rattles rustic Texas border town

Hardened locals in Zapata, Texas, say little has changed since a jet skier was gunned down on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake, but the sheriff sees drug cartel trouble. The body still hasn't been found.

Read the complete story from Los Angeles Times.

Angler brings in world record tripletail

Greg Parker of Gulfport, Miss., recently set an International Gamefish Association world record for 12-pound test line with a 30.45 pound tripletail.
Read the complete story from SunHerald.com.

Piasa angler lands near-record blue catfish

Jason Jackson, 23, of Piasa, Ill., had a fishing day he never will forget recently in the River Bend Classic Tourney, landing a 105-pound blue catfish. The fish was one of the top blue catfish ever taken in fresh water.

Read the complete story from TheTelegraph.com.

Tests show Ariz. bass virus no threat

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Arizona may have a new microscopic aquatic invader -- largemouth bass virus, which can kill fish but is not harmful to people. "There has been a preliminary detection of this fish virus at Saguaro Lake," said Arizona Game and Fish Department Fisheries Chief Kirk Young. "Poses no risk for people, pets or water supply."
Read the complete story from AZReporter.com.

Deer severely damages NH man's recording studio
ROLLINSFORD, N.H. -- The owner of a New Hampshire recording studio said he doesn't know how much damage was caused when a 4-point deer got inside and smashed things as it tried to escape. Jeff Landrock called the event at his Rollinsford studio "bizarre."
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

UN meeting agrees to increase protections
TOKYO -- Representatives to a U.N. conference on biodiversity agreed early Saturday to expand protected areas on land and at sea in the hopes of slowing the rate of extinction of the world's animals and plants and preventing further damage to its ecosystems.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Ore. governor, BPA sign $150M habitat agreement
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Bonneville Power Administration and Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed a $150 million deal Friday requiring BPA to protect 20,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the Willamette River basin through 2025.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.