Idaho Department of Fish and Game staffers on July 11 trapped a sub-adult male grizzly that was found near a Forest Service campground. The grizzly was radio-marked and relocated about 22 miles away in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, said Curtis Hendricks, regional wildlife manager for Fish and Game’s Upper Snake Region. But by Friday, July 20, the bear had returned to the Mill Creek Campground in Island Park and had to be killed.
Killing the bear was the last option Fish and Game officials considered, Hendricks said. Prior to shooting the bear, the Fish and Game employees tried hazing techniques, including trying to scare the bear away with loud whistles, electrified mats, fences and cracker shells to deter the bear away from the campground, Hendricks said. Unfortunately, the bear continued to come to the campground and get within unsafe distances of people.
There are only a limited number of approved grizzly relocation areas, and the bears also can’t be transported across state lines, so this was the farthest and best option Fish and Game had to relocate the bear, Hendricks said.
People at the campground said the bear would swim across the Henry’s Fork River at night to get to the campground, and that the bear was digging holes near tents, rubbing up against tents, and climbing up into truck beds to try to find food.