For the second time in a month, an elk hunter kills grizzly in self-defense, Idaho officials say


An Idaho elk hunter shot and killed a grizzly bear that charged at him, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said in a news release. It’s the second incident in one month in which hunters killed federally protected grizzlies in self-defense.

According to the news release, the man was hunting northwest of Henrys Lake on the evening of Sept. 30 when an adult female grizzly emerged out of the brush nearby. Officials said the man yelled to warn his hunting partner of the bear’s presence, and the animal charged at him.

The man reportedly shot the bear several times with a sidearm, killing the grizzly before it made contact with either hunter, Fish and Game said. He then called Citizens Against Poaching to report the incident, prompting a Fish and Game investigation that determined he acted in self-defense.

It’s illegal to kill grizzly bears in Idaho unless it’s in self-defense. Grizzly bears in the contiguous United States are protected under the Endangered Species Act, though Idaho officials have long been lobbying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the bears.

At least one other Idaho grizzly has been killed in self-defense in recent weeks. Archery hunters near Island Park Reservoir, roughly 20 miles from Henrys Lake, shot and killed a male grizzly on Sept. 5 after it charged at them.

That area of eastern Idaho has been the nexus of grizzly-human conflicts in the state over the last several years. Earlier in September, Fish and Game killed two young grizzly bears near Ashton that it said had repeatedly posed a threat to public safety. The two most recent grizzly attacks on humans in Idaho, in 2020 and 2021, occurred in the same region.