Two East Idaho archery hunters killed a grizzly sow Thursday morning in Island Park after the bear charged them. Neither hunter was harmed in the encounter.
Idaho Fish and Game said the hunters were in the Stamp Meadows area when the attack occurred. One hunter deployed bear spray and the other shot at the bear with a pistol. The sow had at least two cubs nearby.
“We weren’t able to confirm the number of cubs,” said James Brower, regional communications manager with Fish and Game. “We haven’t found them.”
Brower said the hunters have not been charged with a crime in the shooting.
Stamp Meadows is also the area where two other bear encounters occurred earlier this summer.
On July 9, a lone trail runner visiting from Maryland was bitten several times by a sow grizzly with a cub. His injuries were not life-threatening, but he was treated at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg.
On July 30, a mountain biker was chased by a female grizzly bear with cubs in the Stamp Meadows Road area. The bear did not catch or hurt the biker.
“There are grizzlies there and all over Island Park,” Brower said. “No confirmation that it was the same bear (as the other encounters).”
Brower said Fish and Game is trying to locate the cubs, but “dense vegetation in the area is making locating the cubs difficult.”
Fish and Game has posted signs in the area warning of the danger.
Brower said September’s archery elk season can put hunters in a dangerous position with grizzly bears. Normally, making noise and traveling in groups is the best approach in bear country.
“If you’re a good hunter, you’re decked out in camo, calling for elk and smelling like elk and being as quiet as you can trying to get one,” he said of archery hunters. “The two don’t always go together well.”
Brower cautioned recreators in Island Park’s backcountry to be aware of their surroundings, go in groups if they can.
“Making noises is always good,” he said. “And be prepared.”
Regional bear biologist Jeremy Nicholson has an informative YouTube video on hiking in bear country, found at youtube.com/watch?v=FP0wspzPLgc.