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Idaho State News

North Idaho Hunter Mistakenly Shoots Grizzly Bear


PRIEST LAKE – On the morning of June 8, a nonresident hunter shot and killed a male grizzly bear he mistook for a black bear. The bear was killed in Idaho’s Panhandle, north of Upper Priest Lake. After shooting the bear and identifying it as a grizzly, the hunter contacted Idaho Fish and Game and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

The incident serves as an important reminder that grizzly bears can be found in game management units in the Panhandle and in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and grizzlies are known to occasionally visit portions of the Clearwater Region. Hunters can refer to page 73 of the 2023 Big Game Seasons and Rules to see units where grizzlies may be found.

Grizzly bears are protected under state and federal law, and bear hunters are responsible for proper identification of their target.

All hunters are encouraged to review their bear identification skills to avoid mistaken identity. The size and color of the animal are not reliable indicators of species. It’s best to look at multiple features in order to make the right call. Grizzlies typically have short, rounded ears, a dished facial profile, a prominent shoulder hump, and 2-4 inch long claws.

Hunters and others can learn more about bear identification skills and learn the difference between a defensive and predatory encounter by using Fish and Game’s online resources.