Two Grizzlies Outside Of Yellowstone In Idaho Gunned Down By Hunters

More regional encounters between grizzlies and hunters ended badly for bears with two more shot and killed by archery hunters in Idaho outside of Yellowstone. Both cases were cleared as justified self-defense.

Mark Heinz

October 04, 20233 min read

Grizzly 10 4 23
(Getty Images)

Although things have remained relatively quiet this fall in terms of grizzly trouble in Wyoming, several bears have been shot by hunters in self-defense around the region, including two in Idaho.

Bow hunters shot and killed a large adult female grizzly near Henry’s Lake in Idaho on Saturday.

Another large adult male grizzly was shot and killed by archery hunters Sept. 1 near Island Park Reservoir, Idaho.

Both locations are in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Henry’s Lake is in the general vicinity of West Yellowstone, Montana, one of the main entrances into Yellowstone National Park.

No humans were hurt in either incident.

Bears Shot With Handguns

In both encounters, the bears charged the hunters, who shot the grizzlies with handguns. The cases were both cleared as legitimate self-defense, Idaho Fish and Game Department spokesman James Brower told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.

As in Wyoming, archery hunters are allowed to carry firearms for self-defense in Idaho, he said.

“We can’t violate people’s Second Amendment rights by telling they can’t carry firearms. But during archery season, the firearm isn’t a legal means of taking your game animal,” he said.

Charged In Thick Cover

The Idaho incidents mirrored each other. The hunters were moving through thick cover when they encountered the bears at close range and were charged. In the first incident, both hunters opened fire with their sidearms.

In the second case, one of the hunters saw the grizzly and yelled a warning to his partner before the grizzly charged the first hunter. He managed to draw his sidearm, aim it and fire several shots, killing the bear.

In both cases, the hunters immediately called authorities to report killing the grizzlies.

Time Of Trouble

It’s typical for there to be numerous “bear encounters” during archery hunting seasons, which have mostly wrapped up in Idaho, Brower said. But it’s unusual for two of them to end in shootings over such a short period.

Grizzlies are highly active during the late summer and early fall, the peak of archery hunting season, as they try to fatten up for winter, Brower said.

Meanwhile, bow hunters are “being extremely quiet, sometimes using elk urine to mask their human sent and using calls that make them sound like elk,” he said.

There have been several run-ins between grizzlies and humans in the region since August. Hunters also have shot and killed grizzlies in self-defense in Montana.

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter