Grizzly bears are just starting to emerge from hibernation in Yellowstone National Park.
Park spokesperson Linda Veress says the first grizzly sighting of the year occurred last Friday when, “Visitors observed a large grizzly bear between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge. And additionally, grizzly tracks were reported between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Junction on Monday, March 11.”
This year’s inaugural grizzly sighting in Yellowstone came exactly one day after last year’s first bear report.
Male grizzlies typically come out of hibernation by mid-to-late March. Females with their cubs emerge from April to early May.
They’re all hungry, actively looking for winter-killed elk and bison and will react aggressively while feeding.
Veress asks park visitors to educate themselves about bears before venturing out.
“Carry bear spray and know how to use it – make sure it’s accessible. Stay alert, hike in large groups. And do not run if they encounter a bear. And maintain a distance from black and grizzly bears; we recommend 100 yards.”
Park visitors are urged to prevent human-bear conflicts by properly storing food, garbage and other attractants in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes.