When is it legal to kill a grizzly bear?

Aug 10, 2011

A north Idaho man could face fines and prison time for shooting a grizzly bear on his property. The animal is considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act and federal law allows people to kill grizzlies only in certain situations.

Those situations are when the bear is threatening you.

"It is legal under the law to defend yourself from a grizzly bear," says Joan Jewett. She is with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which sent agents to investigate the shooting of the grizzly in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. "But there has to be actual evidence that the bear was in fact threatening you and it wasn't a situation where you just happen to see a grizzly bear."

Jewett says the law also requires you to call Fish and Wildlife within 48 hours of the incident.

Grizzlies that threaten livestock are not fair game though. Jewett suggests landowners who spot a grizzly report it to a state or federal wildlife office for relocation.

Federal prosecutors say the 33-year-old Idaho man illegally shot and killed a grizzly with a rifle in May. He could face up to one year in prison and a $50,000 fine.

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