Study to probe effect of climate change on Yellowstone grizzlies

The less time in the den, the more bears are killed, especially in the fall-

Although grizzlies are now coming out of their dens, quite slowly this year because of deep snow, it may be that recent warm years have delayed the onset of their annual winter hibernation.

Now a study is underway to ascertain the details of den entrance and emergence and compare them to temperature and snowfall.

Autumn is the most dangerous time for the grizzly, doubly so now with the decline in high altitude whitebark pine nut “crop” due to the hot fires of 1988,  the spread of whitebark pine blister rust (a non-native disease) and a general die-off of pines of all species in the Rocky Mountains.

The longer bears are denned up, the fewer are killed during the year.

Study to research effect of climate change on denning. By Karl Puckett. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer.



  1. jdubya Avatar

    “”The major cause of conflict and potential injury to humans is train wrecks between hunters and bears,” Schwartz said.

    Seems like a simple remedy: stop hunting in areas where bear and hunter conflicts are an issue until they go into their dens.

  2. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    jdubya–send your simple plan to the MT, WY, ID congressional delegation and the MT, WY, ID outfitters & guides association and see what kind of respone you get.

  3. jdubya Avatar

    Chuck, I am sure it would be a simple response involving a single digit of the hand.

    Hey, speaking of saving the bears, I need to buy some bear spray. In the past we have borrowed, or just done without, but I am starting to feel guilty in not carrying some when we are in known grizz country. Is there a brand or type that is the preferred spray to buy? If you don’t want to name brands here, just email me at Thanks.

  4. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    There are several brands of EPA registered bear spray–any of those brands will do.

    jdubya–Why do you feel guilty about not carrying bear spray in grizzly country? Ain’t no law says you’ve got to carry it, yet.

    Today, however, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee is doing a dog and pony show in Bozeman, Montana so environmentalists can demand that big game hunters on federal land in occupied grizzly habitat should be required to carry bear spray.

  5. jdubya Avatar

    Why do I feel guilty? If a grizz attacks and mauls me that all but signs its death warrant unless it has the smarts to high tail it out of the countryside. On the other hand, if I can nail it in the mug with spray, then I get away and the bear learns to leave people alone. I keep the incident to myself.

    But in a bigger picture, there are what, 3 to 5 billion people, and how many hundreds of thousands of grizz in the world? No one will miss me other than friends and family; there are plenty of people to fill my shoes (and more to come). On the other hand, there are far fewer bears and they were here before I moved into their countryside. Is my life worth less than a grizz’s life? Absolutely.

  6. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Hi jdubya
    Without being melancholic or depressive, one should occasionally ask himself about a benefit this planet has from one´s existence, in the sense of “do I give something, sometimes” or do I just “take”, “use”, “consume”, “exploit”. Unfortunately, the balance does not always look too good, at least for me 🙂

  7. Linda Hunter Avatar

    I just saw a great film last night called The Edge of Eden by Jeff Turner with Charlie Russell raising orphaned grizzly bear cubs on the Kamchatna penninsula in Russia to be returned to the wild. In it is a good segment on the use of pepper spray when a big male griz tries to be aggressive towards one of the cubs Charlie is raising. Charlie gives a warning in body language then fires the spray. It was interesting to watch how fast the big bear left and how far it went. I don’t know where a person could get this film, but it was one of the best I have seen about bears.

  8. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    jdubya–if a grizzly injures you it’s not a death warrant for the bear. In many cases the agencies are fairly realistic about saying the bear was just defending food, cubs, and/or personal space. They don’t kill those bears.

    I had no idea that after being nailed with bear spray, bears learn to leave people alone. Is that from the journal of wildlife management or some other reputable source?

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    It’s true that grizzlies are given a fair amount of slack. In many cases nowadays the news almost reads “Fool is slapped by griz.”

    Someday odds are a wolf will bite someone. We will never hear the end of “the horror.”

  10. jdubya Avatar

    I have a good friend that was mauled. If they could have found the bear that did it, she would have been toast.

    My, Chuck, you really have quite the attitude don’t you? Maybe you can cite me some reputable journal articles that claim avoidance therapy attracts instead of repels. Other than looking for Mr. Goodbar, of course. Well, Chuck??

  11. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    jdubya–There’s more than enough BS about bear spray already, and new myth the bear spray cult wants to establish is that once you spray a bear, it will avoid people. So do bears a favor and spray them.

    One, there’s no research or anecdotal observations by skilled/qualified observors to verify that theory. Two, who the heck decided it was OK for people to play god and teach bears to avoid people? It’s perfectly natural for a sow grizzly to charge people to defend her cubs; claiming that changing that behavior does bears a favor is just self-righteous BS from the bear spray cult.


Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan