A sleeping firefighter was bitten near McCall Tuesday night, and a male black bear was trapped within a half mile of the firefighters camp Wednesday, Idaho Fish and Game reported Thursday evening.
The firefighter was taken to an area hospital, treated for minor wounds and released. He then returned to work, according to Forest Service officials.
The bear matched the description of the bear that bit the firefighter, and Fish and Game officials plan a DNA test to compare saliva from the bear to saliva on the firefighter’s “bivvy sack,” a small tent, the agency reported in a news release. It's uncertain whether there will be enough DNA on the bivvy sack for a successful test, the agency said.
Idaho Fish and Game had received reports of a bear in the McCall area raiding garages and causing property damage. The agency had set a trap before the biting incident, but hadn’t been able to catch the bear, Fish and Game reports.
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Bear complaints are common in late summer and fall as the animals try to fatten up for winter. People can reduce bear conflicts by removing attractants, such as garbage, pet foods and bird feeders.
After a bear has been reported as a nuisance, Fish and Game personnel first try to remove the attractant. If a bear repeatedly causes problems and must be trapped, or if it shows any signs of aggression toward humans, it will be humanely killed, the agency said.
“We have responded to several calls of bears in town in the McCall area, and most, if not all, can be attributed to the availability of food,” Fish and Game’s Southwest Region supervisor Scott Reinecker said.
Fish and Game encourages people to keep their garbage and pet food secure inside garages and sheds, and to stop feeding birds if there are bears in their area. Campers and other outdoor recreationists should keep coolers and other food storage containers safely away from bears, preferably inside a vehicle.