Boise, Idaho – There are many facets to preparing for a successful hunting trip. Sighting in your rifle, getting the necessary gear together, and scouting the territory. Now hunters or any outdoor enthusiasts have an additional tool for getting ready before they head to the woods. As an addition to their newly redesigned website completed in August, Idaho Fish & Game has added an interactive bear identification training section to help educate about the differences between the two types of bruins that call Idaho home.
For a number of years, Idaho linked its website to the bear ID portion of the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website. A year ago, the Idaho Fish & Game Commission directed the Department to create its own bear ID training component to be a part of the Idaho Fish & Game website. Work to complete the bear ID site was aided by a grant from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC).
The Commission’s intent was to help bear hunters better identify their targets. Portions of northern & eastern Idaho are now again home to both black and grizzly bears. Not only is it important for bear hunters to be able to properly identify their target because of the protection offered grizzlies under the Endangered Species Act; but also because the two types of bears generally react very differently to humans. Even if you are not hunting bears, learning how to tell the difference between the two species can be critical to surviving a surprise encounter with a bear.
The new bear ID portion of the Idaho Fish & Game website is designed to help educate about learning to identify the different physical characteristics of black and grizzly bears. The online quiz is designed to help users learn from their mistakes by reviewing what they missed on a particular image. The quiz contains and introductory educational portion, followed by a 15-question quiz. There also is a change to view video clips of bears in the wild to help identify bears on the move in the wild. The video clips were provided free by Finley-Holiday Films. The website also provides information on bear biology and natural history.
At the end of the quiz a certificate is available to print out to verify how the user did. The online course is not required for bear hunters in Idaho yet, it is highly recommended, similar to the online quiz provided by Wyoming Game & Fish. For a number of years, Montana has required its bear hunters to pass an online quiz before they can purchase a black bear tag.
According to IDFG Regional Conservation Educator Gregg Losinski, “While the bear ID segment was created for bear hunters, it is training that anyone heading out into the outdoors should take advantage of!”