By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
Another day, another dead bear in the Rocky Mountain West.
This time hunters in Idaho stumbled upon a grizzly sow and her two cubs on Thursday morning in the Stamp Creek Meadows Road area of Island Park in the Caribou Targhee National Forest.
When the sow charged the two, one hunter pulled out bear spray while the other was able to reach his firearm and mortally wound the animal.
The Idaho Fish and Game department said neither hunter was injured during the encounter.
The cubs were able to scramble away into the Stamp Meadows wilderness in the Caribou Targhee National Forest about 40 miles west of Yellowstone.
“Everything seems to point that this a case of self-defense,” an Idaho Fish and Game spokesman said. “We are trying to find the cubs and make a plan on what to do with them.”
Depending on the age of the cubs, the options could be limited. The odds of survival for first-year cubs without a mother in the wild are slim.
In Wyoming, two first-year cubs will likely die because their mother was killed by a motorist earlier this month and if wildlife officials capture them, they will be euthanized.
Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials explained that would be their only option as there is no place to put the bears if captured.
There are very few facilities with room for grizzlies, John Heine, director of the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, in West Yellowstone, Montana, told the Powell Tribune. Once a grizzly is taken on, it’s a “lifetime commitment — and it’s rare a spot opens up for an addition to a zoo,” he said. “There are not enough spots available.”