As populations expand in both number and range, they are venturing into new areas to find food, mates, and other resources.

That is the case with yet another confirmed sighting of a grizzly bear in an area in which they had not been previously observed. And it's pretty safe to say it won't be the last, not only in rugged wilderness areas, but locations closer to where people more commonly frequent.

The Idaho Fish and Game staff received footage on May 31, confirming the presence of a grizzly bear west of Interstate 15, in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest - Game Management Unit 59, upper Snake River Region. The national forest occupies over 3 million acres and stretches across southeastern Idaho, from the Montana, Utah, and Wyoming borders.

The bear was photographed by a trail camera, and was clearly identified as a grizzly bear. The presence of grizzlies in this game management unit has not previously been confirmed. It is not known if the bear is still in the area, but hunters and other forest users should assume that it is and follow "Bear Aware’ principles" (be aware of your surroundings, carry bear spray, clean camping, proper storage of attractants, etc.).

Hunters and recreationists alike should be aware of the potential for grizzlies to be present in areas where they have not previously been observed. Black bear hunters in particular should be attuned to the fact that grizzlies may be present in their hunting unit, highlighting the need to properly identify their target.

Just like parts of Montana, grizzly bears are commonly found in much of Idaho’s Upper Snake Region in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. However, this new trail camera footage suggests that there could be more sightings where grizzlies have been infrequently observed.

With spring and summer activities in full swing, now is the prefect time to review and abide by some basic bear awareness reminders – both while recreating in the woods and while living in close proximity to bears.

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