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Rare grizzly bear confirmed in northern Idaho forest

Center for Wildlife Information

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (KIFI) — Wildlife managers in northern Idaho are warning people to be on the watch for grizzly bears after one was recently reported in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest.

The grizzly bear was confirmed northeast of Magee on October 6, 2021. Both grizzly bears and black bears can be found in most of the Panhandle and other parts of the state, and people are encouraged to take appropriate precautions when hunting and recreating in bear country.

As fall big game seasons ramps up, hunters are encouraged to be bear aware while afield and review their bear identification skills to avoid mistaken identity. Size and color of the animal are not reliable indicators of species. It’s best to look at multiple features in order to make the right call. Grizzlies typically have short, rounded ears, a dished facial profile, a prominent shoulder hump and 2-4 inch long claws.

This is the time of year when bears are most active, trying to consume as many calories as possible in order to withstand the winter denning period. This means bears can be active throughout the day and night and can often cover large areas of ground in search of food.

Grizzly bears are federally protected in northern Idaho, and there is currently no hunting season.

Since hunting increases the chances of encountering a grizzly bear, below are some recommendations for hunting in grizzly country:

  • Carry bear spray and keep it accessible and within reach
  • Hunt with partners and make each other aware of plans
  • Look for grizzly bear sign, including fresh tracks, scats, digs, and carcasses or gut piles
  • Be sure of your target before shooting a bear
  • Retrieve game meat as quickly as possible and approach the carcass carefully and loudly
  • Hang meat, food, and garbage at least 200 yards from camp and at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet from the vertical support
  • When not hunting, make noise, especially around creeks and thick vegetation. Most attacks occur by inadvertently surprising a bear at close range

Black bears are common throughout the Panhandle. Grizzly bears are most commonly observed in the Cabinet and Selkirk mountain ranges in Game Management Unit 1 but have also been infrequently observed in units 2, 3, 4, 4A, 6, 7, and 9.

Additional information on grizzly bears, including bear identification training is available on the Fish and Game website. Contact the Panhandle Regional Office with questions at (208) 769-1414.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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