Livestock Carcass Removal Program helps prevent human-bear conflicts

Large grizzly bear lumbering through woods

By Laura Roady 

Laura RoadyDead livestock. No trailer or tractor. There is help. If you live in Boundary County, Idaho, a free program was started in late 2023 to help dispose of large dead livestock in a timely manner so it doesn’t become a bear attractant.

Dead livestock is a major attractant for grizzly bears and other predators. Carcasses bring grizzly bears and other predators closer to humans, living livestock, and homes. Leaving a carcass on your property increases the likelihood of a bear finding it and coming back later to look for other food sources.

To help prevent human-bear conflicts, the Livestock Carcass Removal Program was created. Some people don’t have the means to dispose of a dead horse or cow, said Austin Terrell, Terrestrial Species Project Manager for the Idaho Governor’s Office of Species Conservation (OSC) at the April Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative meeting.

The program is possible through the cooperation of Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) and OSC. Funding for the program was provided by Vital Ground Foundation and Safari Club International Foundation. With the funding, IDFG and OCS were able to purchase a 10-foot trailer with a winch.

The program has been well-received according to Terrell. Between November 2023 and mid-April 2024, 10 animals have been hauled away with the trailer, including horses, cows and pigs.

The cause of death doesn’t need to be bear-related. Any livestock carcass too large for the owner to dispose of is eligible for the free program, no matter the cause of death. All removals are confidential.

Boundary County residents can contact Austin Terrell, OSC, at 208-571-2052 or Rob Morris, Grizzly Bear Conflict Specialist with IDFG, at 208-617-0126 if they have dead livestock to dispose of. Arrangements will be made to pick up the dead livestock in a timely manner with the trailer. With the winch, the process takes about 20 minutes. If a tractor is available, the owner can load the carcass into the trailer. The dead animals are transported to the Boundary County landfill free of charge.

The Livestock Carcass Removal Program is only available to Boundary County residents.