Grizzly bear suspected of killing livestock near Naples

NAPLES, Idaho — Idaho Fish and Game officers believe a grizzly bear attacked and killed a llama and sheep on private land near Naples earlier this week.

The landowner reported seeing a reddish-brown bear on Tuesday evening, but was unable to identify whether it was a grizzly or black bear.

Once IDFG officers got to the property, they quickly located tracks that matched those of a grizzly.

Officers have now placed traps on the property because they believe the bear may return. If successfully trapped, staff will determine whether or not the bear has been encountered during previous research efforts or if it’s a previously documented animal.

They will also collect biological data, including DNA, measurements, sex and age. If the bear is relocated, a GPS collar will be placed on it for future tracking.

“We have quite a few grizzly bears collared in the Panhandle and it actually is really helpful because if one gets close to civilization, we can alert people and be in the know. We also learn a lot about it, when and where they’re moving and why,” said TJ Ross, the regional communications manager for the Panhandle Region of Idaho Fish and Game.

It’s not common to encounter a bear, but it’s still more often than IDFG would like. Ross said they’d rather people have zero interactions with bears, but there are ways to help keep it to a minimum.

“They’re not attracted to us. If there’s no food to get from us, they’re not going to come around us,” he said.

Bears are coming out of hibernation and their stomachs are hungry. Although bears come and go as they please, there are simple steps homeowners and landowners can take to make their property less attractive to the animals.

Here are some tips from IDFG:

  • Properly dispose of attractants, including trash, animal carcasses, compost, livestock feed and beehives.
  • Securely store food, garbage and other attractants in a bear-resistant place.
  • Keep pet food secured as you do your own. Bears like pet food as much as your pet does.
  • Avoid filling bird feeders until wintertime.
  • Do not bury or throw garbage into the nearby woods.
  • Make sure to clean your grills and keep them in a building, if possible

Ross said leaving grills out with juices and fat around, it’s like “honey” to a bear.

He added that if you have livestock, using electric fences could help deter bears.

If you do encounter a bear, here’s how to stay as safe as possible:

  • Never approach bears, always stay at least 300 feet away.
  • Do not interrupt bear activities.
  • Never feed bears.
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
  • Never run if you encounter a bear.

“If you’re approached by a bear and you turn and run, its instinct tells it should chase you down. The better option is to maintain eye contact, slowly back away, raise your hands to look big,” Ross said.