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Bears Emerge from Hibernation Looking for Food

17 Mar 2017, 7:28 am

Early season warmth means some of the animals that sleep off the cold winter months are emerging from hibernation.

Pro Tip: Don’t Feed the Bears

It’s more like a rookie tip, but for some reason people just don’t listen.

It’s something that holds true for any time of year. Bears in the wild are not the same as the stuffed animal you cuddle up with each night as you doze off to sleep. In fact, they are wild animals!
Whoa, real shocker– right?

On average there are about 3 bear attacks every year. And most bear attacks are defensive reactions to people simply getting too close!

NPS photo by Neal Herbert

Hangry Season

Bad tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.

We’ve all been there! Or at least I have! Just ask the lucky girl who spent the better part of a year living in the back of a car with me.

Bears are no different. When they wake up from hibernation they have two things on the agenda. Pass the ‘bear plug‘ (be careful if you google that one) and fill up those empty bellies.

After they emerge from hibernation, bears often feast on the carcasses of animals that didn’t make it through winter.
And though they find food, like you after a long hunt for that perfect dinner, bears have been known to get aggressive with those who encroach upon their long-awaited meal.

So as cool as that photo will be on your Instagram, it probably isn’t worth your life!
Plus, you won’t be there to count the likes that it get anyway.

NPS photo by Jim Peaco

Pro Tip: How to Avoid Being on the Menu

This bit of information comes directly from the National Park Service, so you know it’s good!

  • Prepare for a bear encounter.
  • Carry bear spray, 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 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.
  • Learn more about bear safety.

Though firearms are allowed in National Parks, it is against the law to use them. Plus we all want to keep these majestic beasts alive, so know your stuff if you plan on visiting a bear habitat this spring. Plus, real women and men use bear spray!

NPS photo by Neal Herbert

They’re Coming!

Oh yeah, the buried lead!
I almost forgot the entire weather-related point of the article!

Warm temperatures across the western U.S. mean that some parks have already seen bears come out of hibernation!

Yellowstone National Park already had its first bear sighting of the year, Wednesday morning.
Though footprints were spotted in the park as early as February 22nd.

And with warmer weather in the forecast for the western states, we will soon be seeing more bears emerge from their winter slumber.

Just one of the many signs of spring returning a bit early this year.

NPS photo by Jim Peaco

The Last Pro Tip: Bears are Faster than You!

This is clearly a topic I’ve been obsessed with for years.

For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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