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Wounded grizzly could be on the loose in Idaho…

It pretty much doesn’t get more wild than this when it comes to a press release from Fish & Game: There could be a wounded grizzly on the loose near Harriman State Park, where early Sunday morning, three Idaho black-bear hunters “were unpleasantly surprised after their hounds surrounded a female grizzly with cubs.”

Reports Idaho Fish & Game, “The bear took after the hunters, knocked down Keith Klingler, bit him on the right arm and tossed him around.” While the bear was on top of the hunter, his brother struggled to get his revolver out of a backpack and fired - at which the bear let go, got up and ran off.  “We don’t know whether the bear was hit, if we have a wounded bear, a dead bear or an unharmed bear,” said John Hanson, Idaho Fish and Game regional conservation officer from St. Anthony. They’re running DNA tests on the wounded man’s clothing to match against a database of known Greater Yellowstone grizzlies - that’s right, there is one. Click below to read the full release.


Grizzly Monitored Where Attack Happened Sunday

Idaho Fish and Game officials continue to monitor a radio-collared grizzly bear in the Harriman State Park area where a bear hunter was bitten Sunday.

The collared bear may or may not be the grizzly involved in the attack, said Daryl Meints, the Upper Snake regional wildlife manager in Idaho Falls. There may be unknown grizzlies in the rugged area where the incident occurred.

Monitoring so far has indicated normal movement by the bear. The radio collar would send a mortality signal if the bear were dead.

One of the hunters fired one shot from a .44-caliber Magnum handgun while his brother, Keith Klingler, 38 of Idaho Falls, was under attack. Meints said an interview with Eric Klingler indicated he deliberately fired high to avoid hitting his brother.

“The best scenario is that the shot missed the bear entirely,” Meints said. Because it is unclear whether the bear might be wounded, hunters and other people in the area have been warned about the possibility of a wounded grizzly.

Meints noted that clothing the injured hunter was wearing has been sent to a lab for DNA analysis. Officials want to know whether the DNA matches any of the bears in a database compiled from samples wildlife biologists take of any grizzly they handle in the Greater Yellowstone area. The test results may be ready in about a week.

The incident happened about 6 a.m. Sunday when three eastern Idaho bear hunters were unpleasantly surprised after their hounds surrounded a female grizzly with cubs.

The bear took after the hunters, knocked down Keith Klingler, bit him on the right arm and tossed him around. He was taken to Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, where he was treated for lacerations to his right arm but no other apparent injuries.

The Klingler brothers and Corey Raichart, all three from the Idaho Falls area, were hunting black bears with hounds, on Bishop Mountain near Harriman State Park.

They released their hounds on a scent, and the dogs soon surrounded what the men thought was a black bear. When they arrived they quickly realized they had a grizzly.

The bear charged. The men ran.

When the bear knocked Keith Klingler down, Eric Klingler struggled to get his revolver out of his backpack. With the bear on top of his brother, he fired a shot from his .44-caliber Magnum from five to eight feet away.

The bear let go, got up and ran off.

Eric Klingler was not sure whether his shot hit the bear or not.

“We don’t know whether the bear was hit, if we have a wounded bear, a dead bear or an unharmed bear,” said John Hanson, Idaho Fish and Game regional conservation officer from St. Anthony.

The hunters reported they saw at least two cubs with the female grizzly.

Bear researchers are aware of a radio-collared bear with three cubs in the area. It is unknown at this time if it might be the same bear. But Fish and Game biologists are looking for a signal from a radio collar.

Officials with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Forest Service are assisting with the investigation.

A scheduled grizzly bear monitoring flight later this week will include searching for the collared bear.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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