A grizzly bear was confirmed northeast of Magee in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest on April 29. Both grizzly bears and black bears can be found in most of the Panhandle and people are encouraged to be aware and take appropriate precautions when recreating in bear country.
As spring black bear season ramps up, 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. Grizzlies typically have short, rounded ears, a dished face profile and a shoulder hump.
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
- Hunt with partners and make each other aware of plans
- Look for grizzly bear sign, including fresh tracks. Let partners know if you do see sign
- Retrieve meat as quickly as possible
- Hang meat, food, and garbage at least 200 yards from camp and at least 10 feet off the ground
- 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 big game 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.