COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — Wildlife managers in northern Idaho are warning people to be on the watch for grizzly bears after one was recently reported in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest.
Idaho Fish and Game regional wildlife biologist Barb McCall Moore said in a statement that the bear was confirmed northeast of Magee on Oct. 6, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported.
Bears are most active this time of year as they try to consume enough food to prepare for winter. McCall Moore said that means bears can be active throughout the day and night, covering large areas of ground as they search for food.
Black bears are common throughout northern Idaho but grizzlies are rarer and most often observed in the Cabinet and Selkirk mountain ranges. It’s estimated that there are between 40 and 50 grizzly bears in the northernmost part of the state.
“In most Panhandle units, it is quite rare to encounter a grizzly bear,” Idaho Fish and Game Panhandle Region spokesman T.J. Ross wrote in an email to the Coeur d’Alene Press. “However, Unit 1 is home to an established population of grizzly bears in the Panhandle, so grizzly bear encounters are more common in the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains than elsewhere in the Panhandle.”
Ross said most attacks occur by surprising a bear at close range, and said hunters should be aware of the recent grizzly activity in upper Game Management Unit 4.
Grizzly bears are federally protected in North Idaho and there is no hunting season.
Intentionally shooting a grizzly bear is a felony and may include up to $10,000 in civil penalties.