A mother bear was shot several times and left to waste — and her cubs might need to be put down because of it, Idaho officials said.
A female black bear with three cubs had been wandering the Hills Resort area near Priest Lake for weeks, Idaho Fish and Game said Friday.
The bears got used to humans and had nearly no fear around them, wildlife officials said. Their comfort led to “dangerous situations” for the bears and residents.
“In late-Aug. the sow quarreled with two dogs at separate residences in the area as she was defending her young,” wildlife officials said in a news release. “The incidents resulted in the death of one dog and multiple stitches for the other.”
Idaho Fish and Game officials tried to trap the bears in hopes of relocating them unharmed.
During their search Thursday, people in the area heard several rifle shots near the dumpster of the resort. Wildlife officials found the bear dead when they arrived.
“She had been shot several times and her body was left to waste. The cubs were not in the area and have not been seen since the time of the incident,” wildlife officials said. “If they are located, they will likely have to be put down as they will likely not survive the winter months on their own.”
Fish and Game said the residents’ frustration with the bears was “entirely justified,” but killing the bear and leaving it to waste is considered poaching. If a bear is threatening a person or property, it can be killed in self-defense, but it is otherwise illegal.
“The use of artificial light and the waste of game are punishable wildlife crimes,” wildlife officials said. “It is not legal for citizens to take matters into their own hands in these circumstances.”
Fish and Game said anyone who may have information on the black bear’s poaching death should contact the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999.