The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is urging people to be “bear aware” after confirming a grizzly bear was seen outside of the species’ normal range.

In a news release, the agency said a grizzly bear was confirmed on a hunter’s game camera May 14 in the North Fork area, about 20 miles north of Salmon. Officials said they’re unsure whether the bear remains in the area.

The sighting is the latest in a string of incidents in recent years when grizzlies have been spotted outside their typical range. Experts have speculated that grizzlies might begin moving into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and other wild parts of central Idaho.

Grizzly bears are rare around Salmon, according to Fish and Game. The last confirmed sighting in the area was in 2020, when a young male grizzly was spotted in video footage taken southeast of Salmon.

Idaho’s grizzly bear populations are in the Panhandle and in Eastern Idaho, which is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Fish and Game warned black bear hunters in the area to be sure their target is a black bear. Grizzlies in Idaho are protected under the Endangered Species Act, and it’s a federal crime to kill them.


The agency also urged hikers, campers and other recreationists to practice bear safety. That includes storing food and other fragrant items — including trash — away from camp.

Fish and Game recommends using an approved bear-proof canister or hanging items in a bag at least 100 yards from your tent. Hanging bags should be between two trees, about 4 feet from the trees’ trunks and at least 10 feet off the ground.

Fish and Game said carrying bear deterrent spray — and knowing how to use it — is also important, as is leaving bears alone if you see one.