Fresh grizzly bear tracks were confirmed by a Fish and Game conservation officer in the Fish Creek Meadows winter recreation area about 7 miles south of Grangeville on April 18, 2020. Fish and Game officials warn hunters and recreationists to be Bear Aware because it is uncertain if the grizzly is still in the area or has moved on.
Fish and Game’s first evidence of a grizzly in the area came from game camera pictures in the same general vicinity in spring 2019, and biologists collected a hair sample. The hair sample was sent for genetic testing. Recent results matched a male grizzly bear radio collared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a yearling in 2017 near the Idaho-British Columbia border. The radio collar fell off the bear in 2018.
A Fish and Game officer collected a hair sample near the tracks found in April, 2020 in the Fish Creek Meadows area, which was sent for genetic testing. However, it could take months for test results.
If confirmed as the same bear, this bear is now 4 years old, and it has traveled several hundred miles through Idaho and Montana without any known conflict with people.
Grizzly bears are federally protected in Idaho, so there is no hunting season for them. They are typically found in Idaho’s upper Panhandle and along Idaho’s eastern border near the Yellowstone area, but in recent years, grizzlies have occasionally been spotted farther from those areas. Young male grizzly bears roam widely in search of food and mates.
Here’s how to identify a black bear from a grizzly bear:
Here's more about avoiding bears, what to do if you encounter one, and what to do in the unlikely case you're attacked