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Alberta Fish and Wildlife officer shares highlight cases in memoir

During a 38-year career as a Fish and Wildlife officer, Jim Mitchell encountered grizzly bears, poachers and more.

Fish and Wildlife officer Jim Mitchell, whose decades-long career included a 10-year span stationed in Sundre, has published a collection of some of his noteworthy cases in a new memoir.

Alberta Game Warden: Behind the Badge of 172 is Mitchell’s first book, made up of 34 true stories, including cases involving in-person encounters with bears and other wildlife.

“I love the law and have loved catching poachers since my first day on the job, when I apprehended two night hunters that had jacklighted and shot a calf moose,” said Mitchell.

During a 38-year career as a Fish and Wildlife officer, Mitchell was in the Sundre district from 1998 to 2008.

His 239-page book is divided into chapters such as Notable Enforcement Cases, Surrogate/Decoy Operations, Stupid Criminals, Family Wildlife Encounters, and Humour in Uniform.

In one case in a chapter called Adventures with Bears, Mitchell recalls a frightful encounter with a grizzly near the Upper Red Deer River west of Sundre.

“We saw an enormous male grizzly caught in a snare by the front leg, trying in vain to escape. The bear, understandably, was outraged at being caught, and he charged at us. I’d been the object of charging bears at close range in the past, and each time it had scared the hell out of me. 

“I hoped the bear was caught firmly around the ankle and not just by a toe and that the cable and the tree were strong enough to hold the force of such a large, pissed-off grizzly.

“I readied my 30.06 rifle in case the bear broke loose. It charged again at full force, but was jerked to a halt by the cable. Alarmingly, I saw that the cable had frayed, and several metal strands were broken ...”

Anyone interested in reading first-person accounts of the exciting, challenging and sometimes dangerous wildlife cases in rural Alberta will find Mitchell’s book worth a look.

See Alberta Game Warden: Behind the Badge of 172 on Facebook for more.

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