As the days get longer and the snow begins to subside, both hunters and bears are becoming more active across Idaho. Hunters and hikers need to take a few extra precautions when recreating in bear country. "We are definitely seeing both grizzlies and black bears coming out of their dens and becoming active across the state,” says Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Nicholson. “This is a good time of year to brush up on your 'Bear Aware' skills and remember to carry your bear spray with you and have it readily accessible when you venture into the woods.”
A recent video produced by Nicholson provides some helpful tips for recreating safely in bear country including what to do in different types of bear encounters or attacks.
Residents of mountain communities around the state are beginning to report bear activities. A young black bear cub that spent the winter inside of a backyard tree was among the first bear sightings in Eastern Idaho. Nicholson placed a trail camera nearby to document the event as the yearling cub emerged from hibernation.
If you’re heading out for black bear hunting this spring, please make sure you know the key differences between black and grizzly bears (and take the ID quiz ). Remember it’s illegal to kill a grizzly bear except in self-defense. A great precaution is to carry an approved bear pepper spray and be prepared to use it, in case of chance bear encounters that may go awry.
In 2019, a collared grizzly bear made its way down to the Coeur d’Alene National Forest during spring black bear season, an area with historically infrequent grizzly sightings. Several hunters reported crossing the grizzly’s distinctive tracks. “Hunters had been alerted and knew what to look for, and the bear safely returned to the Cabinet Mountains,” said Panhandle Regional Supervisor Chip Corsi.
If you have questions regarding bear hunting or would like report a bear sighting please contact one of the Idaho Fish and Game regional offices. Fish and Game wants to hear from hunters and wishes everyone a very safe and successful spring season!