Ask Zimo: Officially, there are no grizzlies in Central Idaho

Pete Zimowsky, outdoor writer for the Idaho Statesman, deals with the persistant rumor that there are grizzly bears in Central Idaho.

Ask Zimo: Officially, there are no grizzlies in Central Idaho.

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  1. Monty Avatar

    Dropping bears out of airplanes sounds like the myth about United Nations black helicopters.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    It was one of the first urban myths, actually rural myths, I heard when I moved to Pocatello. However, the way I heard it was that Idaho Fish and Game was taking the “bad grizzly bears” from Yellowstone Park and planting them on Coolwater Ridge in north central Idaho.

    The great irony was that a decade later my spouse was the Coolwater Ridge fire tower lookout. She spent all summer up there by herself and didn’t see a single bear of any kind.

  3. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    I first heard about grizzly bears in Central Idaho in 1982. Was told by an avid hunter, that “problem” bears were brought secretly by helicopter from Yellowstone to the Swimm Lake region of the White Clouds. Now and then in the years past, rumors come up about griz sightings in Warm Springs drainage of the White Cloud Mountains. I wish there were griz there – to join the gray wolves that are once again at home in their historic range.

    Incidently, the “sportsman” who originally told me about grizzlies being brought to Central Idaho, is now a wolf opponent. He’s always been scared of black bears, let alone griz, let alone now the wolf. The White Cloud Mountains have plenty of wild area for a griz family.

    May I live to see the day that grizzly bears once again roam central Idaho.

  4. Joe DeGroat Avatar
    Joe DeGroat

    You might be surprised at where a grizzly will turn up now and then. When I was young in Montana there were rare sightings in places you’d never expect, now some of those places have a much more established resident population. In Washington State I know someone who I absolutely trust that says he saw a grizzly in a remote area south of Mount Raineer. Its known that grizzly’s wander south from Cananda and Washington has an established population in the NE corner of the state. I was shocked to hear of the sighting south of Mount Raineer however.



Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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