IDAHO – (KID) As spring arrives and temperatures warm up, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reminding recreationists, homeowners, and hunters that grizzly bears are emerging from their dens.
Feeding, approaching, or otherwise disturbing grizzly bears not only poses a significant threat to humans and bears but is also a federal offense under the Endangered Species Act.
The Idaho Fish and Game Department says most bear conflicts can be avoided by practicing basic bear safety guidelines.
The most common human-bear conflicts involve unsecured attractants, such as garbage and human food. Protect yourself and bears by staying alert and following these guidelines:
- Never approach bears, always remain at least 100 yards (300 feet) away, or about the length of a football field
- Practice ethical wildlife viewing by remaining a safe distance and never disturbing natural behaviors
- Never feed, leave food for, or make food accessible to bears
- Store food, garbage, barbecue grills, and other attractants in locked hard-sided vehicles or bear-resistant storage boxes
- Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and make sure it is accessible
- Hike or ski in groups of three or more, stay on maintained trails and make noise
- Avoid hiking at dusk, dawn, or at night
- Do not run if you encounter a bear
- Instead of traditional bird feeders, set up birdhouses or birdbaths, plant native flowers, or set up hanging flower baskets for hummingbirds
- Keep chickens and other small livestock properly secured using electric fencing or keep them inside a closed shed with a door
- Report bear sightings, encounters, and conflicts immediately to your state or tribal wildlife management agency
Residents and visitors in Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming are encouraged to familiarize themselves with areas where they may encounter grizzly bears. A map representing possible areas where grizzly bears may be encountered is available at https://idfg.idaho.gov/press/recreationists-homeowners-and-hunters-are-reminded-grizzly-bears-are-emerging-dens .