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The following information is compiled from a news release from Yellowstone National Park. YTT stock image as the actual bear was not photographed. 

It’s the time of year where grizzly bears begin to emerge from hibernation at Yellowstone National Park. On Tuesday, March 7, a Yellowstone National Park wildlife biologist spotted the first grizzly of 2023 while on a radio telemetry flight. While not photographed, the adult bear – estimated to weigh between 300 and 350 pounds – was seen near the remains of a bison carcass in Pelican Valley, in the central-eastern part of the park.

Ironically, the first bear sighting of 2022 also occurred on March 7.

Park officials speculate this bear was a male as they are more likely to come out of hibernation in early March. Females with cubs will wait to emerge until April through early May. When bears emerge from hibernation, they look for food and often feed on elk and bison that passed over the winter.

As a reminder, all of Yellowstone National Park is bear country: from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful.

“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.

The park restricts certain visitor activities in locations where there is a high density of bears, along with elk and bison carcasses. Restrictions will begin in some bear-management areas on March 10.