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Outdoors notebook: Mountaineer told to shelve his rifle

| Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, 10:12 p.m.

The Mountaineer has been silenced — or at least his rifle has been.

Jonathan Kimble, who serves as West Virginia University's mascot, looks the part, with his heavy beard and the mountain-man garb he wears to sporting events.

The job previously allowed him to carry and shoot the flintlock rifle that's a part of his uniform.

This hunting season, though, Kimble used the rifle to legally shoot a black bear during that state's bear season.

Afterward, he created and posted a YouTube video of the hunt, with the university's fight song as background music.

That generated negative comments from people against hunting and from those who thought the bear might have been a cub.

University officials admitted that Kimble did nothing illegal. Still, they ordered him to stop using his official flintlock on hunting trips.

Kimble, who said the bear was the first he killed, apologized and took down the video.

Terror groups

The National Rifle Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International and other sportsmen's groups are “domestic terror groups?”

An online petition asked the White House to label them as such.

The petition was created on the White House's “We the People” petitions portal. It calls the conservation groups “anti-predatory animal organizations” aimed at “decimating predators to the brink of extinction.”

No particular group has taken credit for starting the petition. It did not appear to get enough signatures to meet the minimum for consideration.

New strategy

Fish and wildlife agencies around the country have been recruiting sportsmen to battle the spread of invasive species. Florida, though, is trying something new.

That state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has created a “python challenge” for 2013. It offers $1,500 cash rewards for those who harvest the longest and the most Burmese pythons.

The largest Burmese python documented in Florida was more than 17 feet long. The non-native snakes are a threat to local wildlife, officials say.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bfrye@tribweb.com or 724-838-5148.

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