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Official cautions drivers: 'Critters graze roadside' this time of year

Jun 23, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Large carnivore conflict coordinator Brian DeBolt said he knows the bears that were sighted earlier this month on U.S. Highway 26 near Dubois.

"We haven't caught them or marked them before, but I've seen (her) around the past couple of years," DeBolt said of the female grizzly who was spotted with two new cubs at about 1 p.m. Friday in the highway's right-of-way. "She doesn't seem to be too afraid of having people in cars close by, but she hasn't caused any trouble and hasn't been aggressive toward anybody in any way."

He said she was "just being a bear" when she wandered toward the roadway with her cubs.

"This time of year all critters graze roadside," DeBolt said. "That's where the moisture concentrates."

He added that the grizzly family was on a part of the road that skirts the forest west of Dubois.

"(That's) not an unusual place," DeBolt said. "They grazed roadside for a little bit then just wandered off. It was really pretty uneventful."

Wildlife sightings in the Dubois area are relatively common, but DeBolt said people should stay away from any large creatures they may see near mountain communities. U.S. Forest Service regulations prohibit feeding bears or coming within 100 yards of the omnivores.

"Roadside bears are not tame -- they're wild animals," DeBolt said. "They're potentially dangerous, and they should be viewed from a safe distance."

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