Vigorous production of cones spells very good news for grizzly bears-

Although the majority of whitebark pine in the Greater Yellowstone has died off or burned in recent years, there are still enough for the grizzlies in those years when conditions are optimal for cone production.

There is a long and strong data set showing fewer grizzlies die in conflicts with humans during years of good whitebark seed production because the bears are at high altitude during the critical months when they are trying to put on winter fat and hunting season is taking place outside Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks.

Whitebark pine cone crop looking good. “High-protein food could help reduce conflicts between grizzlies, hunters this fall”. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

3 Responses to Wyoming whitebark pine cone crop looking good

  1. avatar Virginia says:

    The female grizzly bear with three cubs killed last Sunday by a man in the Clark, WY area won’t be partaking in whitebark pinenuts. The man was mauled by her after surprising her and her cubs. He said he felt bad about killing her, but had no choice. The only mention of bear spray was that his wife said the attack was too quick for bear spray to work (she was not present when this happened). It was not reported that he had bear spray with him, only a pistol with which he fired three shots at the grizzly and killed her. The three cubs will be going to a zoo in Tennessee.

  2. avatar Davina says:

    The amount of whitebark pine cones on the trees on Dunraven pass (Yellowstone) looks great!! Lots of big cones already. Hopefully it will be like 2006, with lots of black bears hanging out in the trees up there!!

  3. avatar dave smith says:

    With relisting grizzlies a distinct possibility, it’s no suprise the agencies are doing press releases suggesting bear mortality willl drop this fall because of good whitebark pine crops. But let’s not forget that 40-80% of whiteback pine in the Yellowstone region have been wiped out in recent years. So a great year in 2009 would have been a crappy year in 1999. And the long term prognosis is not good.

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