(Updated 4:15 p.m. MDT, 03/16/2021)
BOZEMAN — Yellowstone National Park announced its first, officially confirmed grizzly sighting of the year, saying in a news release it occurred on Saturday, March 13.
According to the release, a pilot supporting park wildlife studies watched from the air as the grizzly interacted with wolves at a carcass in the northern part of the park.
In early February, MTN News reported Yellowstone hiker Devinne Curbow's sighting of a grizzly over the last weekend in January. Kerry Gunther, bear biologist with YNP, said at the time sightings can happen in January or February, although it isn't very common.
The YNP release said several tracks have been seen over the last two weeks, leading up to the park's first official sighting on Saturday.
In February, Gunther said it's a good idea to carry bear spray year-round.
“I generally carry my bear spray from March through December, but it’s probably a good idea to start carrying it in January and February now,” he said.
YNP reminds the public that all of the park is bear country and offered these additional tips to be safe and bear aware:
- Prepare for a bear encounter [nps.gov].
- Carry bear spray [nps.gov], know how to use it, and make sure it’s accessible.
- Stay alert.
- Hike or ski in groups of three or more, stay on maintained trails, and make noise. Avoid hiking at dusk, dawn, or at night.
- Do not run if you encounter a bear.
- Stay 100 yards (91 m) away from black and grizzly bears. Use binoculars, a telescope, or telephoto lens to get a closer look.
- Store food, garbage, barbecue grills, and other attractants in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes.
- Report bear sightings and encounters to a park ranger immediately.
- Learn more about bear safety [nps.gov].
The first YNP grizzly sighting of 2020 occurred on March 7.