A Montana grizzly bear caught, radio-collared and released by researchers near Idaho on Aug. 4 has been shot and killed by a hunter near Wallace.
The bear was shot Wednesday evening, said Phil Cooper, Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman in Coeur d’Alene. The grizzly, a federally protected species, had been the subject of several news reports in the region.
The bear was killed at the bottom of Kings Pass and Beaver Creek Road about six air miles north of Wallace, according to the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Department.
An Idaho Fish and Game officer and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer are investigating, Cooper said Thursday. No further information was available, including who reported the shooting. Grizzlies are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Black bear hunters are expected to know the difference between legal black bears and grizzly bears before shooting, Fish and Game officials say. Legal baiting for black bear hunting was going on in the area, Cooper confirmed.
The 2-year-old male grizzly had been relocated by Montana and federal biologists as part of a periodic program to boost the Cabinet Mountains grizzly population.
Like many bears trying to survive the record-dry year, the bear appeared to be on the search for food, a task hampered by dodging fires, said Wayne Wakkinen, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional wildlife manager in Coeur d’Alene.
“We knew it was bear season,” Cooper said. “We’d been putting out a trap to try to catch him and move him to an area where he’d be safer and not so accessible to people, but we didn’t make it.”
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