PRIEST LAKE, Idaho -- Idaho Fish & Game is looking for any information regarding an illegal poaching of a black bear that was shot and killed near Hills Resort on Priest Lake in North Idaho.
On September 9 Fish and Game staff found a female black bear that had been killed and left to rot near the Hills Resort.
Priest Lake is known for its high density of black and grizzly bears and in some cases bears are known to make their way near populated areas in search for food.
In August, Fish and Game responded to reports of a female black bear and her three cubs that were continuously visiting the Hills Resort area for several weeks. The bears appeared to show little fear for humans, which was a cause for concern for Fish and Game.
Initially, Fish and Game provided assistance to residents by helping them secure trash cans and educate them on bear awareness. However, in late-August the mother bear got into two separate incidents with dogs, in which she felt the need to defend her cubs from the dogs.
One of the incidents ended with the dog needing stitches and the other dog was killed.
During the first week of September, Fish and Game staff attempted to trap the bears near the resort. The hope was to trap and relocate the bears without causing any harm to the bears of community. The trapping was unsuccessful and reports of the bears continued.
On September 8, officials received reports of rifle shots heard near the dumpsters in Hill Resort.
The next day, Fish and Game found the mother bear, shot several times and left to rot. The cubs were not in the general area and have not been seen since the incident. If located, Fish and Game said they will likely have to be put down due to the fact that they will likely not survive the winter.
"Although frustration with the bears among the local residents was entirely justified, the circumstances surrounding the poaching incident were dangerous for other citizens, and the use of artificial light and the waste of game are punishable wildlife crimes" said Fish and Game in a press release about the incident.
"It is not legal for citizens to take matters into their own hands in these circumstances; however, bears that are posing an immediate threat to a person or property may be killed in self-defense without a license or tag. Fish and Game staff have received specialized training to handle situations such as this one."
If you have any information regarding this incident, contact the Citizens Against Poaching hotline (1-800-632-5999) and declare that you may have information regarding a black bear poaching case near Hills Resort on Priest Lake. Poaching information can also be reported online. Individuals providing information can remain anonymous.