An elk hunter in Idaho shot and killed a grizzly bear in self-defense after the animal charged directly at him in a ‘surprise encounter’.
The man was making his way through heavy timber near Henrys Lake State Park when a large female grizzly appeared from the brush a short distance away.
After the hunter yelled to his partner, the grizzly charged directly at him. Fearing for his life, he frantically fired several shot shots with a sidearm, killing the bear before it could reach them.
The hunter, who was not publicly identified, immediately called the Citizens Against Poaching hotline and officers with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game responded to conduct an investigation.
‘It was determined that the hunter acted in self-defense during a surprise encounter with the bear from a very close distance,’ wildlife officials said, referring to the incident on Saturday.
Officials reminded hunters that grizzly bears are protected under state and federal law, and that there is a chance of encounters within the Greater Yellowstone and north Idaho areas.
The department advised visitors hunting in areas with grizzlies to take bear spray and keep it accessible, hunt with partners, keep an eye out for signs of the animals, and retrieve meat quickly and hang it at least 10 feet off the ground and 200 yards from camp.
Most attacks occur after a bear is surprised at close range, according to officials, who noted that it was a good idea for visitors to make noise around creeks and thick vegetation during periods when they are not hunting.
It is illegal to kill grizzly bears in Idaho unless it is an act of self-defense. Grizzlies in the contiguous United States are protected under the Endangered Species Act, though Idaho officials have been lobbying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to get the bears delisted.
At least one other grizzly in the state has been killed in self-defense in recent weeks.
Archery hunters near Island Park Reservoir, about 20 miles from Henrys Lake, shot and killed a male grizzly on September 5 after it charged at them, the Idaho Statesman reports.
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This article by James Callery was first published by The Daily Mail on 6 October 2023. Lead Image: The elk hunter was making his way through heavy timber near Henrys Lake State Park when a large female grizzly appeared from the brush a short distance away (Stock Image).