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Grizzly bears

Grizzly bear attacks on humans are most common in surprise close encounters.

A 35-year-old man pleaded not guilty on Thursday to illegally transporting grizzly bear claws from the Bob Marshall Wilderness to Washington.

Bryan Berg, of Spokane, also entered not guilty to failure to report shooting a grizzly bear, which carries a possible six-month prison sentence and a $25,000 fine. The charge related to the claws carry a possible one-year prison term and $10,000 fine. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Berg shot and killed a grizzly in self-defense in the Hart Basin area of the Bob Marshall Wilderness some time between Sept. 2017 and March 2018, according to charging documents filed Oct. 8. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigated the case. The transportation charge is a misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act, passed in 1900 to become the first federal law protecting wildlife. 

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen DeSoto set a bench trial date for Jan. 2, 2020 in Missoula. 

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