ATHOL, Id. — The race is on to catch a young grizzly bear spotted near some homes in Kootenai County.
Idaho Fish and Game officials said they received several calls about the bear raiding chicken coops near Athol.
As of Tuesday, Fish and Game has just one trap in this area to get a hold of the two-and-a-half-year-old grizzly.
But trapping the bear will not be easy. Officials said this bear is on the move and they are not sure where its next move might be.
Several people living in the Athol and Garwood areas of Kootenai County have reported seeing the bear.
Given how close the bear is to people, Idaho Fish and Game is using a culvert trap to try and capture the bear, and hopefully relocate it. Inside the trap is bait -- Idaho Fish and Game typically uses meat such as road-kill deer. Once the bear walks into the chamber it triggers a release, causing the door to swing shut behind it.
"The issue right now is that it's moving around enough that we don't know exactly where to set a trap to try to capture the animal," Wayne Wakkinen, regional wildlife manager, said.
It's not the first time Fish and Game has tried using the culvert trap to snag a bear in the area.
Three years ago, Fish and Game tried to capture a grizzly bear in the Silver Valley after it was caught on video by a resident. Officials said the same trap was deployed, but the grizzly was ultimately illegally shot and killed by a hunter.
In the case of the bear in Athol, the agency says the bear is likely moving around a lot because it is not only a teenager, it was also likely driven from its regular habitat because of lack of food.
"In years that are hot and dry with not a very good huckleberry crop, we do see a lot of bears moving around more," Wakkinen said.
Fish and Game officials said if you see a bear, keep your distance and call Fish and Game's Panhandle regional office immediately at (208) 769-1414.