Bears with cubs come out of dens

The following is an interagency news release from the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Teton County, Wyoming and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation.

JACKSON, Wyoming – Grizzly bears with cubs have begun to emerge from their dens in Teton County, Wyoming. As bears become active this spring, BearWise Jackson Hole reminds residents and visitors to secure attractants of all kinds and to be bear aware.

Seeing a bear in its natural habitat is an awesome experience. However, living and recreating in bear country requires awareness and action on our part to keep bears and humans safe. As the grizzly bear population grows in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, the bears continue to disperse throughout their historic range, but also into more populated areas. All of Teton County is now in occupied grizzly bear habitat.

Properly storing all attractants to ensure a bear does not get a food reward is crucial to keeping bears wild. Once a bear is conditioned on human food, the risks to the bear and humans increase and management options become limited. Whether you’ve lived in Teton County for decades or are visiting the area for a day, please do your part to help protect the bears.

If you are a resident:

  • Store all garbage in bear-proof containers.
  • Secure livestock feed, pet food, compost and beehives.
  • Hang feeders in a way that makes them inaccessible to bears.
  • Help your neighbors create a bear-friendly community to protect wildlife.

If you visit the national park or the national forest:

  • Keep a clean camp. Store all attractants, including coolers, cooking utensils, and pet food, in a bear box or hard-sided vehicle with the windows rolled up. Properly store trash until you can dispose of it in a bear-resistant dumpster.
  • Never abandon your picnic table or backpack. Make sure someone stays with your food at all times.
  • If you see a bear, always stay at least 100 meters away. If you choose to view or photograph the bear, use a spotting scope or telephoto lens. Park in designated areas and never block traffic lanes. Follow the instructions of the staff who manage the bear jams.
  • Please respect all wildlife closure areas.

If you are exploring the hinterland:

  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Make noise, especially in areas with limited visibility or when sound is muffled.
  • Pack bear spray, know how to use it, and keep it readily available.
  • Hike in a group of three or more people.
  • Do not run. Back up slowly if you encounter a bear.

As interagency partners, BearWise Jackson Hole will continue its collective efforts to proactively prevent conflicts between bears and residents of Teton County. However, we cannot do it alone. We need your help. By securing attractants and taking appropriate precautions when re-creating in bear country, we can keep bears and humans safe.

Please immediately report any conflict activity in your local community to bear management professionals at Wyoming Game and Fish so that we can respond quickly and appropriately to reduce the risk of bear-human conflict.

BearWise Jackson Hole was established in 2006 as a local chapter of the Wyoming Bear Wise Community Program and is a partnership between the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation and Teton County. Our goal is to minimize the accessibility of unnatural bear attractants and to educate residents and visitors about bears and conflict prevention.

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