Hunters in North Idaho shot and killed a grizzly bear earlier this month in self-defense, according to an Idaho Department of Fish and Game news release.
Fish and Game said the hunters were pursuing black bears in the Ruby Creek area southwest of Bonners Ferry on June 8. The hunters shot a black bear and were retrieving it when a grizzly came out of the brush nearby.
The hunters reportedly backed away from the bear and yelled at it, but it continued approaching them. One of the hunters then shot the bear at close range, killing it. Afterward, one of the hunters called Boundary County emergency dispatch to report the incident. An ensuing Fish and Game investigation found the hunters acted in self-defense.
Officials said the bear was a sub-adult male, meaning it was not yet sexually mature. The hunters were not injured in the encounter.
Grizzly bears in the contiguous U.S. are protected under the Endangered Species Act, and it’s illegal to kill them unless doing so in self-defense. North Idaho includes parts of the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaak grizzly recovery zones, while Eastern Idaho is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem area. Fish and Game noted that grizzlies are commonly seen in Game Management Unit 1, where the hunters were. They’ve also been seen less frequently in a handful of game units to the south.
Fish and Game advised people in grizzly territory to carry bear spray and keep it handy. The agency also urged hunters to hunt with a partner, keep an eye out for grizzly signs and make noise when not hunting to alert bears of their presence.