With several fatal grizzly bear maulings taking place in 2021 so far, Outsiders remain on edge in bear country – including Idaho.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Caribou-Targhee National Forest branch is warning locals to be on their guard. On the morning of Friday, July 30, a large grizzly bear sow gave chase to a mountain biker near the Stamp Meadows road area of the national forest. As the sow is believed to have cubs, officials are issuing an alert to any who may be in the area.
“ALERT – GRIZZLY BEAR SIGHTING! A female #grizzly bear was sighted in the #StampMeadows road area (Island Park area) this morning (Friday, July 30) by a mountain biker. The bear chased the biker but did not harm the biker,” states the park on their official Facebook page. “Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game officials believe the female grizzly bear has cubs and have posted Bears in the Area signs,” they state.
In addition, the park asks that “If you are in this area take precautions and be bear aware.” Within, they provide a USDA link on how to do so, before providing their own tips:
- Carry bear spray and know how to use it
- Do not travel alone
- Store your food and other items that have a smell in a hard-sided bear proof box, vehicle or other places where it is unavailable to a bear.
U.S. Forest Service Hopes to Avoid Further Grizzly Bear Attacks
“We did confirm bear tracks in the area,” says Curtis Hendricks, regional wildlife manager for the Upper Snake Region for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to local KSL.
Officials like Hendricks are being extra cautious. Less than a month ago, a man was attacked by a grizzly bear sow while jogging. This week’s sighting is only four miles from the jogger’s place of attack. The victim would confirm at least one cub with the sow. Thankfully, he did not sustain life-threatening injuries from the encounter.
As for whether or not this is the same bear, Hendricks says “We can’t say for certain.. This location occurred approximately four miles from where the jogger had his incident with the bear. We can’t confirm it.”
He does state, however, reiterate the U.S. Forest Service’s bear country tips. “People need to remain vigilant and they should carry bear spray and know how to use it. Do not travel alone… Make sure to store food in a hard-sided bear-proof box… Or in a place that a bear would not get to easily.”
For context, the area for both encounters is roughly 28 miles southwest of Yellowstone National Park‘s West Entrance.
Stay safe out there, Outsiders!