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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Carnivore caution

Tips can help hunters avoid run-ins with predators

Biologists say black bears can usually be scared off a carcass. (Associated Press)
Biologists say black bears can usually be scared off a carcass. (Associated Press)

Hunting in country inhabited by bears, cougars and wolves poses a challenge to sportsmen to be wary, and to clean up their act.

Hunters who kill a big game animal should be aware that the gut pile and carcass attracts bears, wolves and other scavengers. Hunters in grizzly bear habitat should try to remove the meat the same day they kill the animal, according to Idaho Fish and Game Department officials.

Bears that discover an unattended carcass may try to defend it aggressively. Hunters should place the gut pile on a tarp and move it far away from the carcass, then use the tarp to cover the carcass. Scavengers are likely to go for the gut pile first.

If the carcass must be left in the woods overnight in grizzly country, try to place it where it can be seen from a distance when you return.

Quarters should be hung out of reach the same way food should be secured at a backcountry camp – 10 feet high in or between two trees.

Idaho officials suggest placing clothes or articles with human scent around the carcass.

When returning to the carcass, approach carefully. Yell or whistle repeatedly. Scan the area with binoculars. If a grizzly bear is at the site and refuses to leave, report the incident to Fish and Game officials.

Do not attempt to frighten or haze a grizzly that does not leave a carcass.

Wolves and black bears usually can be scared off a carcass, according to biologists who work regularly with these species. However, they warn that a solo hunter might not want to press the case with a pack of wolves that indicates aggressiveness.

Hunters in grizzly country should always carry pepper spray. Shooting a grizzly may make it more aggressive. Though shooting a grizzly is allowed in self-defense, shooting it to protect a carcass is not.

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