Idaho town on alert after rare grizzly bear sighting

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Idaho is asking hunters and other backcountry users to exercise caution near the town of Salmon after a rare grizzly bear sighting.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said in a news release that a bear photographed by a motion-sensor camera on May 14 has been identified as a grizzly bear.

Grizzly bears in Idaho are found mostly in northern Panhandle area and inside or near Yellowstone National Park in eastern Idaho. Salmon is in east-central Idaho, 170 miles from Yellowstone.

The bear was photographed in the North Fork area outside of Salmon.

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The last known grizzly bear sighting in the area was in 2020, involving a young male grizzly.

Idaho’s spring black bear hunting season is underway and hunters near Salmon “should not assume any bear they see is a black bear,” the IDFG stated, cautioning that grizzly bears are a federally protected species.

It’s not known if the grizzly bear is still in the area, but all backcountry users are asked to carry bear spray.

The IDFG explained that young male grizzly bears sometimes roam extensively, venturing into areas where people are not accustomed to seeing them.

“These young male bears typically wander through an area, but do not remain there,” the agency stated.

–Grizzly bear image courtesy of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game