Idaho DFG Unable To Find Wounded Grizzly

Idaho Fish & Game Department, Bear Hunting Magazine

Idaho wildlife officials were unable to find a grizzly bear wounded over the weekend by elk hunters as they tried to retrieve a six-point bull elk carcass in the Island Park area west of Yellowstone National Park. The hunters went to retrieve the elk Saturday morning when the bear charged at them. They stated that they fired about a dozen shots with handguns and a shotgun before the bear turned and ran away.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game sent a team of seven wildlife officers in and reported finding a blood trail of the bear near the elk carcass but that it disappeared after about 460 yards. The team of five Fish and Game officers and two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers flushed a grizzly bear from the carcass Sunday when they arrived, but it is unknown if it is the same bear wounded on Saturday.

The team believes that at this point, the bear is not critically injured. It is very possible the bear might recover from whatever injuries it has, but that is of course unknown. Trackers, who were in the area for about six hours, didn't find large amounts of blood on the ground. There are no plans to resume searching for the bear.

The area where the incident occurred is about three quarters of a mile east of U.S. Highway 20 and south and east of the Buffalo River in the Targhee National Forest. The highway in that area crosses the Buffalo River about 12 or 15 miles west of Yellowstone National Park.

Officials are asking everyone to take precautions as the hot, dry summer has magnified the potential conflict with bears. They are searching more widely than in past years looking for food. The berry drop they might be exploiting this time of year did not do well. Hunters should make every effort to get killed game out the same day. If that's not possible, hunters should approach the area with great caution when they return.

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