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Idaho Fish and Game


Grizzly bear mistakenly shot and killed by a hunter in Unit 6


A subadult male grizzly bear was recently mistaken for a black bear and killed by a hunter in the Panhandle Region

On June 10, a hunter shot and killed a subadult male grizzly bear he mistook for a black bear.

The bear was killed in unit 6 of Idaho’s Panhandle, an area not commonly used by grizzly bears. After identifying the bear at the scene as a grizzly, the hunter contacted Idaho Fish and Game and has cooperated with the investigation.

Most of Idaho’s grizzly bear populations are in the northern Panhandle area and the area in and around Yellowstone National Park in Eastern Idaho. But young male grizzlies may wander long distances and into areas where people don’t expect to encounter them. These young male bears typically wander through an area, but don’t remain there. 

Grizzly bears are protected under state and federal law, and bear hunters are responsible for proper identification of their target. All hunters are encouraged to 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. Grizzly bears typically have short, rounded ears, a dished facial profile, a prominent shoulder hump and 2-4 inch long claws.

Now is as good of a time as any to freshen up on your bear identification skills and your ability to know the difference between a defensive and predatory encounter by using our online resources.

Please contact the Panhandle Regional office at (208) 769-1414 with any questions.

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