On Sunday, March 13, the first grizzly bear sighting of 2022 was reported in Grand Teton National Park. Now that bears are emerging from their dens, visitors and local communities are encouraged to secure attractants.
Adult male grizzly bears typically emerge from hibernation in March, and females with young usually emerge between April and early May. When bears emerge from their dens, they search for food, which often includes scavenging carcasses of animals that died during the winter. Bears may display aggressive behavior towards humans if approached while feeding on carcasses.
“Bear season has begun, how it ends depends on all of us. We welcome the community-led effort to work across boundaries to protect bears in Jackson Hole, and we need everyone’s help to remove unsecured attractants from the valley.”
– Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins
As the grizzly bear population continues to expand in the southern end of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, bears continue to disperse outside of Grand Teton. Visitors and local residents should secure all attractants so bears cannot gain access.
- Store all garbage within bear-resistant containers.
- Secure livestock feed, pet food, compost, and beehives.
- If you feed birds during the non-denning season, hang birdfeeders in a way that makes them inaccessible to bears.
- Help your neighbors create a bear-wise community to protect wildlife.
Once a bear receives a human food reward, it can become food-conditioned. Over time, food-conditioned bears may become bold or aggressive in their attempts to obtain human food. It may be cliché; however, more often than not, “a fed bear is a dead bear.”
For more information and helpful tips about how to do your part to protect bears, please visit the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s Residents webpage and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Living in Bear Country webpage.
Black and grizzly bears may be located anywhere within Grand Teton at any time. While recreating in the park, follow these guidelines:
- Be alert and watch for bears, fresh tracks, or scat.
- Make noise, especially in areas with limited visibility or when sound is muffled.
- Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and keep it readily available.
- Hike and ski in groups of three or more people.
- Do not run, back away slowly if you encounter a bear.
Federal regulations require you to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and 25 yards from all other wildlife. Learn more about bears, safe bear viewing, and how to properly use bear spray at go.nps.gov/tetonbears. Please report bear sightings within the park to the nearest ranger.