Grizzly Bear Update from the Tetons

September 19, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Now that the fall colors are starting to happen in Jackson Hole and both the moose and the elk are starting their mating season, it's time for a quick update on the grizzlies!

On a side note, my 2024 Calendar is now available, featuring images of grizzly 399, 610, and other wildlife of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks: get your calendar here in my Etsy shop

 

After appearing out of hibernation in May of this year (aged 27) with a record-setting new cub in tow (read the story by clicking here, which will open in a new window), she and her cub spent late spring into summer in a relatively small area.

In the weeks after waking up, she was frequently seen in her usual area of Pilgrim Creek to Willow Flats and Jackson Lake dam. The summer heat typically pushes the bears into higher elevations but, perhaps because she had a new cub with her, #399 stuck around in the same area.


399 and Spirit earlier this summer: fine art print available on Etsy starting at $51

 

Berry season started early this year around mid August which increased sightings of 399 and her (fast growing) cub.  Berries are a favorite fall food for both grizzlies and black bears, as they fatten up before hibernation.  Both 399 and 610 with their respective litters where seen almost daily around the Willow Flats and Oxbow Bend area. 
Keep an eye also on Moose-Wilson road in the National Park as the road is bordered with berries (mostly black hawthorn and service berries) and is a hot spot for mostly black bears nowadays, but the occasional grizzly does wander in.

In the past week or two, the grizzlies have been on the move.  For the first time since coming out of hibernation, grizzly 399 and her cub have moved south!  They were seen entering private ranch land south of Wilson and Jackson.  It's familiar territory for 399 as she took her quads there in past years.  Hopefully she stayed out of trouble since she and her quads were observed raiding beehives and acquiring other food rewards from private properties in 2021.  Fingers crossed she and Spirit will make it back into the safe(r) environment of the National Park soon! The latest news today is that someone spotted the pair heading back towards Willow Flats in the National Park.


399 and Spirit

 

Elk hunting season has started in the National Forest surrounding the National Park.  This typically brings out the grizzlies as they feast on the gut piles left behind by elk hunters.  Keep in mind that 399's typical area around Pilgrim Creek is barely a few miles from the National Forest border, so she does frequent the forest outside of the National Park. 
This makes it an extra potentially dangerous time to go hiking in the national forest as you simply never know where you may 'bump into' a carcass ...

Grizzly 610 and her cubs were recently seen south of Signal Mountain along the inner park road, and, a few days later was seen near Spread Creek along highway 89.

Fritter (grizzly 1063) was seen a few days ago near Pilgrim Creek in the National Park.

Felicia and her (on their own) cubs spent the summer near the Continental Divide on Togwotee pass, east of the Moran entrance to the National Park.  Bad news, however, when the authorities relocated one of the cubs, allegedly because of conflicts with humans.  It feels like Felicia and her cubs have had a bullseye on their backs from Game & Fish for several years now, so hopefully they acted in the best interests of both the humans and the bears.


399 and Spirit cause a giant bear jam in the National Park

 

In past years, hunting season and the promise of easy protein meals have brought grizzly 399 back north into the national forest bordering the National Park's Pilgrim and Pacific Creek areas.
 


399 and Spirit in my 2024 calendar: get your 13-month wildlife calendar here on Etsy

 


399 and Spirit in the Pilgrim Creek area

 

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