SPOKANE — A woman who shot a grizzly bear that ultimately died after she believed it posed a threat to her North Idaho family is worried she may be in trouble for killing a federally protected species.
Barbara Casey shot the 2-year-old male grizzly Tuesday after it appeared in the backyard of her Moyie Springs home in Boundary County, reported The Spokesman-Review.
“I don’t want to go to prison for saving my family and my animals,” Casey said.
Lucas Swanson, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officer who responded to the call, said grizzly bears can only be legally killed when they threaten human life. It could take several months before Fish and Game releases a report on the incident.
Casey said her teenage daughter had rushed into the house, saying there was a bear in the backyard.
“I thought, ‘Oh, that’s kind of cool; the kids will see a black bear. We will scare it off with some pans,’?” Casey said.
But the pots and pans didn’t work. Casey started firing warning shots with a handgun in another attempt to deter the bear from attacking her family and her animals.
“It started coming at us like it was a dog,” Casey said.
Casey had retrieved a rifle and began firing more warning shots.
The bear stopped and it got quiet, she said. But then Casey’s dog barked, and the bear turned toward Casey and charged.
She said she shot the bear twice from about 20 feet away. The bear ran down the hill, where a neighbor later shot it in the head.
Wayne Kasworm, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, said the bear was trapped and collared near Troy, Montana, three weeks ago. The bear was released between 5 to 10 miles from where it was killed.
The incident is under investigation.
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