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Fish and Game confiscates captured bear cub

Managers assessing next move
Posted: 7:43 PM, Oct 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-22 00:17:39-04

BOISE, IDAHO — A Boise man who thought he was rescuing a dying bear cub from the wild says he was blind-sided when Fish and Game officers confiscated it.

Charles Erickson says he found the bear during a hunting trip.

He says the cub appeared to be sick and dying, so he captured it and brought it to his home in Boise where he and his family kept it warm and bottle fed it.

Erickson says he contacted two bear rehabilitation centers hoping they could nurse the bear back to health, but before he was able to make that happen, Fish and Game officers contacted him and took the bear.

"I made a commitment and promise to that bear and I feel like I have failed," said Erickson. "If feel like I totally failed. Because he is gone and they won't even let me track him. They won't even let me know if they are going to kill him. And that's not fair."

Idaho state law prohibits citizens from holding big game animals in captivity without a license.

In a statement this evening, fish and game southwest regional manager Brad Compton told Six On Your Side:

"The region is assessing the condition of the bear to see what the likelihood is of it being able to be returned to the wild and pose no risk to humans. When we make that determination, we will assess what our next step is. We will also check with zoos in the state.”

This incident comes just days after Fish and Game officers euthanized a bear cub in Blaine County.

The Idaho Mountain Express reported that in that case a Fish and Game official said the agency killed the cub rather than send it to a rehabilitation facility saying success isn't guaranteed, and Idaho already has a healthy black bear population.