Grizzly bear sighting in previously unknown areas near the Montana border

As populations grow in number and space, they venture into new areas in search of food, mates and other resources.

This is the case with yet another confirmed sighting of a grizzly bear in an area where they have not been seen before. And it is fairly safe to assume that this will not be the last, not only in harsh wilderness areas, but also in places closer to where people normally frequent.

Idaho Fish and Game officials received footage on May 31 confirming the presence of a grizzly bear west of Interstate 15 in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest – Game Management Unit 59, Upper Snake River Region. The national forest encompasses over 3 million acres and stretches across southeastern Idaho, from the borders of Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

The bear was photographed on a trail camera and positively identified as a grizzly bear. The presence of grizzly bears in this wildlife unit has not been confirmed. It is unknown if the bear is still in the area, but hunters and other forest users should assume so and follow Bear Aware principles (be aware of surroundings, carry bear spray, clean camping, proper storage of lures, etc.).

Hunters and recreationists alike should be aware that grizzly bears may be present in areas where they have not been previously observed. Black bear hunters in particular should be aware of the fact that grizzly bears may be present in their hunting area, which underscores the need to properly identify their target.

Just like in parts of Montana, grizzly bears are common throughout much of Idaho's Upper Snake Region in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. But this new trail camera footage suggests there may be more sightings in places where grizzlies have rarely been seen.

Now that spring and summer activities are in full swing, it's the perfect time to review and keep in mind some basic bear presence considerations – both when recreational in the woods and when living near bears.

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