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Boise, ID


Date: September 15, 2003
Contact: Ed Mitchell
(208) 334-3700

Hunting in Bear Country

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game would like to remind hunters to be aware of proper handling of game in bear country. When a hunter kills a big game animal, he or she should be aware that the gut pile and carcass provide an attractant for bears. Hunters, particularly in grizzly bear habitat, should try to remove the meat the same day they kill the animal. The Big Game Units where you may encounter a grizzly bear include Unit 1, 4A, 60, 61, 62, 62A, 65, and 67.

However, all bears that discover an unattended carcass may try to aggressively defend it. Therefore, hunters should place the gut pile on a tarp and move it as far away from the carcass as possible, then use the tarp to cover the carcass. If the carcass is to remain in the woods overnight, the hunter should try to place it in an area that can be seen from 200 yards away when approaching (if possible). The quarters should be hung 10 feet high in or between two trees to prevent a bear from reaching them. When returning to the carcass, approach carefully. Yell or whistle repeatedly. With binoculars, scan the area for the carcass and any movement. If a bear is at the sight and refuses to leave, report the incident to Fish and Game. Do not attempt to frighten away or haze a grizzly or black bear that does not leave the carcass when it becomes aware of you.

Hunters in grizzly country should always carry pepper spray. Pepper spray has been shown to be an effective deterrent and, when used properly, can prevent injury during an aggressive encounter.

Shooting a grizzly with a firearm can result in increasing the aggressiveness of the bear and may further increase the chance of injury. Though shooting a grizzly is allowed in self-defense, it is not allowed to protect a carcass, and a hunter acting recklessly in a situation surrounding a carcass may force an issue that may have been avoidable altogether.

However, with a little planning and precaution, hunting in Idaho can be an extremely rewarding activity resulting in successfully taking home your quarry and providing you with long-term happy memories of an Idaho hunt.




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