Yellowstone National Park Has First Grizzly Bear Sighting of 2022

by Anna Dunn
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Yellowstone National Park just had its first grizzly bear sighting of 2022. A pilot supporting the wildlife research within Yellowstone National Park spotted the bear yesterday, March 7th.

Here’s What to Know

  • The sighting means that bears are starting to come out of hibernation.
  • Male Grizzlies are the first to come out of hibernation, while females with cubs venture out later in the spring.
  • Make sure to take proper safety precautions before going to Yellowstone National Park.
  • The entire park is considered bear country.

This Yellowstone National Park Grizzly Bear Sighting Indicates the End of Hibernation Season

According to the National Park Service, the pilot spotted the adult bear walking through a meadow. The service notes that this is around the time of year that grizzlies start to come out of hibernation. The first bear sighting of 2021 in the park occurred on March 13th.

Male grizzlies are the first to venture out after the long winter. Females with cubs typically emerge in April and May. At this time of year, many bears wind up eating the deer and elk that didn’t survive the brutal winter months.

Sometimes bears can act aggressively with people when feeding and it’s important to remember that no matter where you are in Yellowstone National Park, you’re in grizzly bear country.

Here are Some Safety Tips

If you find yourself in bear country, it’s important you stay alert of your surroundings. If you’re going back into the woods, make sure you learn how to and carry some bear spray.

In bear country, it’s always best to travel with a couple of buddies. It’s a smart idea to hike or ski with groups of at least three people. Approaching bears closer than 100 yards is dangerous and also prohibited.

When camping, make sure you learn how to properly store your food to avoid luring bears, who have a fantastic sense of smell, into your area. And if you see a bear, make sure to report it to a ranger. That’ll help protect the safety of yourself and others and help the park monitor their bears.

Kerry Gunther, the bear management biologist at Yellowstone National Park told the service that “Spring visitors hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing in the park can reduce the chances of encountering bears by avoiding low elevation winter ranges, thermal areas, and south-facing slopes where bears seek out ungulate carcasses and spring vegetation shortly after emerging from winter dens.”

The park will also restrict certain activities in areas where the population of bears or elk is particularly high, so keep an eye out if you’re going this spring.

You can learn more about bear encounters from the National Park Service.

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