Since launching its revised website on August 1, Idaho Fish and Game has added the Idaho Bear Identification program, including training, exam and videos.
The course is now available on the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/education/bearIdentification/.
The program includes introductory and training sections and a 15-question test section. Individuals who pass the test will be able to print a certificate.
Portions of northern and eastern Idaho are home to both black and grizzly bears. It is important for bear hunters to properly identify their target because of the protection offered grizzlies by the Endangered Species Act and because the two types of bears generally react differently to humans. Even for people not hunting bears, learning how to tell the difference between the two species can be critical to surviving a surprise encounter with a bear.
The online bear identification training program is voluntary.
The program, coupled with other material available on the Fish and Game website, will help reduce mistaken-identity killings of grizzly bears by black bear hunters, provide Idaho's rules and regulation of black bear hunting, provide information about bear biology and natural history, and increase human safety by teaching conflict avoidance tools.
The bear education and identification program is designed to enhance efforts to manage black bears responsibly while protecting grizzly bears where the ranges of the two species overlap. Staff members from Fish and Game's wildlife, communications and information sciences bureaus worked together to developed a visual training program that provides instant feedback and training, an improvement over other similar courses developed by other states.
Developers reviewed other state's online courses and evaluated options to develop training tools that will improve people's ability to identify black bears and grizzly bears.