Elk NetworkCan You Differentiate Between a Grizzly and a Black Bear?

General | May 8, 2019

Wildlife officials in Idaho recently confirmed the presence of a grizzly bear northeast of Magee in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. Both grizzly bears and black bears live in the Idaho Panhandle.

Hunters, hikers and others are encouraged to know the difference between the two species, be aware and take appropriate precautions. Size and color of the animal are not reliable indicators of species. It’s best to look at multiple features in order to make the right call. Grizzlies typically have short, rounded ears, a dished face profile and a shoulder hump.

Grizzly bears are federally protected in northern Idaho and there is currently no hunting season.

Black bears are common throughout the Panhandle. Grizzly bears are most commonly observed in the Cabinet and Selkirk mountain ranges in big game unit 1 but have also been infrequently observed in units 2, 3, 4, 4A, 6, 7, and 9.

(Photo & graphic source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)