Grizzly Bear killed in north central Idaho came from the Selkirk Mountains

The grizzly bear that was killed by a bear hunter in a vast backcountry area near Kelly Creek migrated there from the beleaguered bear population in the Selkirk Mountains of extreme northern Idaho. That’s the part of Idaho called “The Panhandle”.

DNA tests showed that the big healthy bear came from the Selkirks. Grizzlies there, and in central Idaho (where none were thought to be) are still on the threatened species list, and were not affected by the recent delisting of the grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Many, including myself, hope this bear was not the only grizzly in vast central and north central Idaho mountains.

Here is the news release from Idaho Fish and Game.





  1. Jon Way Avatar

    do you happen to know of a map to see exactly where the griz came from and ended up. Too bad that Bush et al. canceled the reintroduction back in 2001 to central ID.
    thanks, Jon

  2. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    “The distance from the southernmost area of the Selkirks, such as the town of Priest River, to the spot where this bear was killed is 141 air miles. Obviously, this bear didn’t move in a straight line.” (From some blog I found.)

    “It is the first grizzly bear verified since 1946 on the Idaho side of the 5,700-square-mile Selway-Bitteroot ecosystem in central Idaho and western Montana.” According to modern math, that’s 61 years.

    “The hunter was on a guided trip hunting black bear over bait, which is legal in Idaho. The guide wasn’t present when the grizzly was shot.” “Officials say the shooting remains under investigation.” “The Friends of the Clearwater, a conservation group based in Moscow, Idaho, said the grizzly bear death was no surprise. In a letter to Servheen, the group said there have been reports of grizzly bears in the Bitterroot Mountains dating back into the late 1990s.” “The group also wants the Fish and Wildlife Service to review Idaho’s black bear hunting regulations that allow for baiting and hounding of bears, spring and fall hunting, and a liberal “take” in the Clearwater Basin.” (All that from

    Bear baiting… now there’s a FAIR CHASE ethic for ‘ya.

    The killing is still under investigation, but I surmise that some yahoo from Tennessee, on a guided (sucker) black bear hunt over BAIT, without his guide being present, shot a grizzly that was attracted to the BAIT set out for black bears.

    What the hell is wrong with the system? There’s been MANY instances of hunters killing grizzlies for no good reason, including mis-identification.

    Most grizzly charges (some 95% +/-) are BLUFF charges – use pepper spray – and if you’ve got meat on the ground, better ‘git it out fast.

    You’ve got a black bear permit and you’re hunting over BAIT? You should have plenty of time to positively identify your target. Not sure if that bear’s a black or a grizz? Don’t pull the trigger.

    Trigger-happy yahoos from out of state on guided (sucker) black bear hunts over bait. Gotta love ’em.

  3. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Friendly addendum to my post above:

    1) Note that Idaho Fish and Game, in their press release, makes NO mention that the “hunter” was “hunting” black bear over BAIT.

    2) I failed to mention that the “hunter” WAS from Tennessee according to Idaho Fish & Game’s press release (no offense intended to Tennessee fair-chase hunters).

    3) You’ve got a black bear permit and you’re hunting over BAIT? You should have plenty of time to positively identify your target. Not sure if that bear’s a black or a grizz? Don’t pull the trigger. If you’re on a guided (sucker) “hunt”, ask your guide to ID the species BEFORE you pull the trigger.

  4. j potter Avatar
    j potter

    I believe that (sucker) hunting should not be a viable means of hunting bears. In the state of Washington where I am from, It is more of a sport in the fact that it has been illegal to bait or use dogs due to the unfair advantage. I have no problem hunting overpopulated deer in certain areas. I see no controversy taking a deer humainly by practical means for doig this is much better than hitting one with a car. I have never seen a Grizzly bear driving and feel that sport hunting a predator with low numbers that looks similar to an endangered species is uncalled for. Bear meat is not desireable. For those who eat the meat I am sorry. Cattle or buffallo would be much easier to bait and provide easier identification for those macho sport hunters who want to shoot a mamouth beast.


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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