Here’s a cool story that came to me recently:

“Jake Sweeney first thought he was looking at a mountain goat while hunting up the North Fork last Friday.

But he looked a closer and then a little closer and realized, there’s no goats in this area.

That’s a bear.

It was a bear all right. An albino black bear. Sweeney, a senior at Columbia Falls high school said he watched the bear for several minutes with hunting companions Jeremy Terillion and Elynden Gravelin to make sure it wasn’t a grizzly.

And then he pulled the trigger.

The bear dropped and was dead.

It took him two days, with the help of Terillion and Gravelin to haul the bear out of the woods. The bruin was just about blind, Sweeney said. He noted that the bear never really saw them.

They were hunting a ridge looking out over a clearing where they had seen some other bears when the albino popped out of a clearing about 114 yards away.

Albino animals out in the woods aren’t entirely uncommon, said Jim Williams, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Region One wildlife manager. He said the female bear was about 2 years old, though they won’t know exactly until they get data back on the bear’s tooth.

Albinism is simply a genetic mutation, Williams explained. Black bears normally come in a variety of colors.

Thanks, Hunter.

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