There is one sure sign that winter is coming to an end: Grizzly bears are coming out of hibernation.
Yellowstone National Park had its first bear sighting of 2023 on Tuesday. The National Park Service said an adult bear weighing 300 pounds to 350 pounds came out of hibernation and was seen near a bison carcass within the park.
The National Park Service said male grizzlies generally come out of hibernation in March. Females and their cubs typically come out of hibernation in April and early May.
When bears emerge from hibernation, they are generally seeking food and can become aggressive. Because of this, Yellowstone restricts certain visitor activities in areas with high bear populations starting March 10.
“Spring visitors skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking in Yellowstone National Park are reminded to carry bear spray and be especially alert for bears near carcasses and areas with early spring green-up. These are the first foods sought out by grizzlies after emerging from hibernations,” said Kerry Gunther, the park's bear management biologist.
Bears generally go into hibernation because of dwindling supplies of food. During hibernation, bears reduce their temperature and activity level to not burn as many calories.