JACKSON, Wyo. – The first grizzly bear of 2023 in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, area, was spotted in Grand Teton National Park on Wednesday evening, and officials warn residents and visitors to be bear-aware now that they’re awakening from their winter hibernation.
According to the National Park Service, adult male grizzly bears usually emerge from hibernation in March, while females with young cubs typically emerge in April and early May.
The first grizzly bear sighting in 2022 in the Jackson Hole area occurred on March 13 in Grand Teton National Park.
NPS officials said when bears emerge from their dens, they’re on the hunt for any available foods and often scavenge animals that died during the winter.
"Seeing a bear in its natural habitat is an awe-inspiring experience," the NPS said in a news release. "However, living and recreating in bear country requires awareness and actions on our parts to keep bears and people safe."
The NPS said that the grizzly bear population continues to expand within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and bears will continue to disperse across their historical range but will also begin to move into more populated areas.
The NPS says properly securing and storing food ensures a bear does not get a food reward, which is crucial to keeping them wild.
"Once a bear becomes conditioned to human foods, risks to the bear and humans increase, and management options may be limited," the NPS said. "Whether you have lived in Teton County for decades or are visiting the area for a day, please do your part to help protect bears."