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Mama bear, 5 cubs found in Ashton apple tree

A sow and five bear cubs were spotted in a tree at a residence east of Ashton Monday morning. | Video courtesy Sadie McCausey

ASHTON — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game routinely receives reports of bear sightings in eastern Idaho but Monday morning the call was a bit different.

A mama black bear was hanging out in a tree east of Ashton. And she had her five cubs with her.

“They were attracted to the area because of apples lying on the ground,” Idaho Fish and Game Regional Communications Manager James Brower tells “They were close to houses and there were people in the area.”

Photo courtesy Idaho State Police

Fish and Game officers, along with Idaho State Police troopers, Fremont County Sheriff deputies and Ashton Police officers, were called to the area. The sow and four of the cubs eventually walked away on their own but one was extra hungry and remained in the tree.

“We shook the tree a little and the remaining cub climbed on down on its own,” Brower says. “Bears have a pretty good sense of smell so hopefully he or she will be able to catch on to the mother’s scent and join the group.”

Brower says all of the bears appeared to be in good health and while it’s common for a sow to have two or three cubs, five is quite unusual.

“That’s a large number of cubs for sure,” he says. “Five is not real common, but it’s not impossible. If the mom’s body is in super condition, they could all be hers. It’s also possible she could have picked up a couple of stragglers along the way.”

The bear who remained behind ran away and ended up climbing another tree. Officers used a jab stick to sedate it, according to Brower, and they are working to reunite the cub with its family.

If gets more of the “bear” facts, we’ll post an update. Sorry – we “bearly” made it through the story without an “unbearably” funny bear pun.


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