Second killing of griz in two years shows some grizzlies getting past the Interstate Highway 90 barrier-

Interstate Highway 90 cuts across NW Montana and the Panhandle of Idaho creating a massive barrier to grizzly migration and restoration to central Idaho. That’s the bad news. The good news it is not absolute.

Although finding a grizzly by way of its being dead is not the happiest method of finding a bear on the south side of the barrier, the fact that a grizzly was just shot there by an elk farmer near Rose Lake, Idaho in the Panhandle makes it at least the second bear to cross in two years.

Because both bears were killed, that raises a strong possibility that others have made it and survived.

Story in the Spokesman Review. Grizzly had killed bull elk, farmer says. Bear shot after attack at Bugle Mountain Elk Farm.

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On the earlier dead grizzly. Grizzly Bear killed in north central Idaho came from the Selkirk Mountains. October 2, 2007

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

24 Responses to Grizzly shot by Idaho elk farmer south of Interstate 90

  1. avatar Ken Cole says:

    This article says the bear was shot north of I-90.

    http://www.shoshonenewspress.com/articles/2009/06/12/news/doc4a3000056c26a405651990.txt

    This is still an area that hasn’t seen grizzlies for many many years.

  2. avatar Mike says:

    Yet another reason to shut down elk farms.

    There’s no excuse for killing this bear.

  3. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Let’s hope some more have made it across. Maybe the reintroduction won’t be necessary after all.

  4. avatar D says:

    This ranch is located south of the freeway….but not too far south…maybe a mile or less.

  5. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    Rose Lake is about 5 miles south of I 90 near where the swans died of lead poisioning recently. I don’t know were the elk farm is located.

  6. avatar chris says:

    In addition to misidentifying the grizzly as a black bear, the owner/shooter also thinks elk have “horns” instead of antlers.

  7. There something funny about this whole story. I hope whatever it is, it comes out.

  8. avatar Tim says:

    The ranch is a half mile or so from I-90 located right on highway 3. The owner keeps his bull on the west side in pens next to his house. while the cows and and calf’s stay in a larger field on the east side. Its strange that the bear would take the bull before going after others.

  9. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    There something funny about this whole story. I hope whatever it is, it comes out.

    It seems like there have been lots of funny things going on in Idaho that have been in this blog.

    I agree also that it is strange that the grizzly would take on a bull instead of going after a calf. Does anyone know where the grizzly was shot in 2007 that was out of the established range? Was it close to this area?

  10. avatar Tim says:

    actually they are fairly close to each other. Kelly creek is about 40 miles up the st. Joe river from st maries and rose lake is around 30 miles north of st maries. as the crow flies it maybe 60 miles.

  11. avatar Ken Cole says:

    The griz killed in 2007 was killed near Kelly Creek which is far to the south. Kelly Creek is in the NF Clearwater drainage about 90 miles SE of Rose Lake.

  12. My point is both were south of I-90. Now if this bear really was north of I-90, and so not all that near Rose Lake, it is just a grizzly bear in an unusual place and an elk farmer with an odd story.

  13. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Ralph, has Idaho Fish and Game investigated the possibility of more grizzlies in these areas?

  14. avatar dave smith says:

    If you build it, griz will come. I don’t pay any attention to the artificial lines on a map the feds drew back in the 70s deliniating the grizzly bear recovery zone. The feds drew the map on what constitutes normal/acceptable grizzly habitat based on economic and political lines. If Joe Sheepherder made a big financial contribution to an Idaho Congressman, the map of grizzly bear country took 90 degree turns that excluded Joe Sheepherder’s grazing allotment on US Forest Service land. As if grizzlies know where the boundaries are.

    Let’s not forget that 20 years after everyone assumed grizzly bears were gone from Colorado, a bowhunter killed a grizzly in the 1970s. Who knows if we really managed to wipe out all grizzly bears outside the official grizzly bear recovery zone in ID, MT, and WY. Maybe they were always there and we just didn’t know it.

    Even if the grizzlies are just now reclaiming old haunts, the fact is, grizzlies are a lot more tolerant of people than people are of grizzlies. We need to stop killing grizzlies when people in grizzly country chum for bears with elk, llamas, goats, chickens, etc.

    There’s a lot more grizzly habitat than there is people willing to let grizzlies behave like bears in grizzly bear habitat.

  15. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Dave, I know of plenty of reliable people who have seen grizzlies in places outside of the imaginary lines in Montana, Wyoming, and even in Colorado. The idea of bears living in the San Juans in Colorado has fascinated me after reading about the incident with Ed Wiseman, especially since it was determined in the necropsy that the sow had had cubs.

    I agree that it is important not to be killing grizzlies when they are attacking animals especially if it is an isolated incidence. Are there programs to reimburse people for losses? I’m hoping that grizzlies are reclaiming old territory in other places. That is why I am lukewarm about the idea of Yellowstone grizzlies being delisted.

  16. avatar Cobra says:

    As I said in previous post last week the bear was shot north of I-90 in an area called Bently Creek. I live about 5 miles from the elk rancher involved. We’ve been seeing grizzlie sign north and south of I-90 for quite a few years. One friend of mine actually had a sow and two cubs on his trail cam. When he showed the pictures to fish and game they told him the pictures had to be from Yellowstone or Glacier. Just about everytime we’ve mentioned seeing sign to F&G they tell us we’re nuts and it was probably just a big back bear. Also the area where the bear was shot has several homes around it, kind of like a mini-sudivision that is bordered by forest and state grounds. He also shot the bear after dark in the pen so I’m sure that he was as surprised as anyone to find out that it ended up being a Grizzly. I really wish f&g would start considering what sportsmen and hikers are telling them about what we’re seeing in the woods as being more truth than fiction, or at least give us the benefit of the doubt.

  17. Thanks Cobra,

    I missed your previous post.

    This is optimistic news (from my perspective).

  18. avatar JB says:

    “I really wish f&g would start considering what sportsmen and hikers are telling them about what we’re seeing in the woods as being more truth than fiction, or at least give us the benefit of the doubt.”

    I don’t want to speak for F&G people, but having worked with agencies on several studies in the past and communicated with many hunters and anglers, I think the reason your comments get dismissed is that so many hunters have no idea what they’re talking about.

    A few of the whoppers I’ve heard directly from the mouths of hunters…
    (1) MI DNR flew in cougars with helicopters (by night) to help control deer populations in the central lower peninsula.
    (2) OH DNR dropped rattlesnakes out of helicopters in southern Ohio (no reason given as to why).

    In fact, just the other day I had a hunter rail at me that the DNR had let deer populations get totally out of control then, in the next breath, tell me that coyote populations were also out of control and they were eating all the deer?!

    After you hear…say…a few dozen of these comments, you just stop listening.

  19. avatar bob jackson says:

    Cobra & JB,
    I saw it happen from both sides. I was around the biologists in Yellowstone and I saw a lot of way out thoughts by the outfitters and their hunters. Emotional needs is what fueled the fires for both.

    The biologists, especially under pressure from administration and all its politics, had to elevate themselves as being “elite” core of people. They would take little stock in bear or wolf sightings by the public even though some of this public…especially the wolf watchers and film makers who were out there every day….knew a lot more of what was happening in the woods than they as desk biologists did.

    One time my suppervisor told me I was the only backcountry ranger in the Park who still turned in visitor reports of bear sightings. He said the rest had quit years ago because the biologists didn’t want them. It was a form we had all been issued for this purpose. The biologists, he said, didn’t really think the accounts were that accurate. To me accuracy depends on the questions the interviewer asks of the sighter. In other words if you don’t know about the subject you can’t pick out the little things that directs the next question.

    Plus even if the interviewer (park aids at the desk) doesn’t know that much a pattern still develops through multiplication of that sighting to give a more accurate assessment of what animals are in (or where they are) the Park. The biologists know this, but the more hammering by administration on them, then the more they entrenched in elitism.

    As for outfitters and hunters the motives for way out observations were different even though the outcome was the same. Outfitters didn’t like any checks on their activities so the more they could discredit the regulators, the govt, the more they could incite the hunters, their clients. And since most newly residenced private hunters looked up to outfitters as a wild west wanna be they believed what the outfitters said.

    The hunters and men of the land, whether in the mountains or in Iowa, where I live, are looking for a buzz..something out of their primordal past. The excitement I see generated in them with wildeyed accounts is heightened even futher when you get a bunch of them together at a sporting goods store or the local restaurant. When a mountain lion was killed a quarter mile from my place it brought over 50 pickups to the scene (they had it trapped in a culvert) within minutes. The word spread like wildfire. If I hadn’t been out West I would have drove down there and confronted the whole lot. I may not have stopped them from killing it but at least I could have shamed and embarassed them a bit.

    What this one of a kind incident spawned was all the evolutionary male emotions. Some, even 4 years later, want to protect the women and children and thus still are seeking out lions not here. They make up stories such as how this widow was feeding her lambs over the hill from her farm yard and this vicious BLACK panther stalked, crouched and lashed its tail back and forth at her. She supposedly ran all the way to the house. Thus about every six months a report like this comes in and all are in their pickups rushing to the scene and then spreading out on the gravel roads and its in between soybean and corn fields to find this “killer”. It is all so convoluted evolution of male-female roles. I think the answer to all…”professionals” and lay people… is to have them more aware of where the elitism and outbursts and emotions, such as anger, come from. But of course this won’t work for most because it then means they have to face the fallacy of their thinking….thus all we can do is sit back and shake our heads…and then fight against explotation…at least our view of it.

  20. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Cobra, fish and game in any usually denies what outdoors people say. While I agree that they cannot do an investigation based on circumstantial evidence, they are usually quick to deny. Like I had said previously, I know of many reliable people who have seen grizzly bears in Montana and Wyoming outside of the established territory and people who have seen them in Colorado. The fact that this friend of yours got video of a sow with cubs is very encouraging. Sometimes when fish and game denies an animal is outside of its range it can be bad, like in eastern Montana where I have heard of people who say the game wardens tell them they can shoot big coyotes even if they happen to be black.

  21. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    JB, that conspiracy theory with the cougars is all over the Midwest. I know that Iowa’s DNR web site put a disclaimer in that they were not doing that. I never have heard the rattlesnake one though.

  22. avatar bob jackson says:

    Now here’s one story those on both sides can agree is a story made up. Only thing is it is real. I saw a Big Foot in the NW part of Yellowstone Park. It was stalking a deer. I saw it from less than fifty yards away. Ta Da Ta da.

    I’m sure those who saw that black panther (probably a black angus in tall grass) in Iowa will go to their grave knowing their story was real. So will I with my story. But who will believe it? Since a lot of people on this site have been in the woods a fair amount…and never seen sign of a big foot then it must not be so, huh?

    Want to know more…weird lights like moving spot lights illuminating the side of Turret peak (in Yellowstones SE corner. I didn’t see it but I believe the people who did because it matches what Blister rust crew saw in the 60’s, 30 years later), my friend, a pilot and look out on Pelican cone, who watched lights like of a plane that moved so fast and at sharp angles so quickly it could not have been earth made,…. blue lights and noises on upper Mt. Ck. that spooked out the trail crew.

    The more I relate the easier it is to dismiss by others. How about a cave in the NW section of Yellowstone where a whole stream goes down its dark abyss, so far there is no noise at its bottom. A rock thrown in is lost in reverse space and the whole 100 acre area in front of this place is full of sink holes. Yes, the biggest cave anywhere around and nobody has “discovered” it. Want to know more…caves on mt ledges with openings blocked up with stones with spears in them, caves with smoke on its roofs where peoples from long ago lived and placed things on its interior ledges.

    Oh yes, Yellowstone has all these. It also had an Army days 16 x 20 sod roofed cabin fully equiped and left when the Army pulled out of Yellowstone that was just as they left it with Quarter Master plates, rope bed and a whisky bottle still with some booze in it. The Park historians for years would not believe it was a scout cabin. It must be a poacher cabin because it wasn’t recorded, they said. I said the reason I searched and found it was there had to be a cabin. It was too far between the two mapped cabins for scouts to ski in a day.

    Yellowstone also has pennies placed in far away caves that should be good finds for someone 5,000 years from now. Some are caves behind little waterfalls, some are in caves simply amazing with petrified trees piercing the floors and ceilings. And some are on ledges in caves very dark with floors hollowed out by hibernating grizzlies for thousands of years. Got to leave some stories for the future you see.

    The people here in Iowa have little to see of natures mysteries. Thus they think the DNR is transplanting mt lions as stated above by pro wolf. be glad there are natuaral places with lots of awe left. somebody will find the cave I talk of, the one where as soon as you realize there is no sound coming forth you back off quick from its grassy lipped hole to nowhere. Another mystery is civilized and people everywhere will have to make up more black panther stories. Such is life.

  23. avatar bob jackson says:

    It should have read “….30 years EARLIER” not LATER in reference to what blister rust saw.

  24. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Bob, I think lots of people like to dismiss things eagerly. This is especially true if they have not seen it themselves, like a big foot. Funny thing is, so many people have claimed to see big foots that you have to wonder if something like that exists. I heard of a sighting of moving light near Indian Creek once. The black panther story seems suspiciously like a black helicopter story. I very glad to live in a part of the country where there are stories like this around and you can actually expect to see mountain lions in the wild.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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