Grizzly bears making homes far from Yellowstone

Wonderful news!

And don’t believe that stuff about “these areas are no longer biologically suitable for the grizzly.” If they are not suitable, how is it that they are living there?

People who say things like that don’t seem to know much about the history of wildlife in the West.  The low point for wildlife was from about 1910 to 1930. Almost all the game was shot out due to lack of regulations and unimaginable numbers of cattle and sheep that had been dumped on the landscape. Of course large non-game animals like cougar, bears and wolves were killed to protect the livestock. The only wildlife doing well was the coyote, an animal that thrived in such disrupted conditions.

Wildlife was so rare in Montana they people would ride 50 miles just because a deer had been seen. Things are much better biologically today. The problem is a handful of stupid, mean, arrogant people who hate wildlife and apparently all people too (except lobbyists and billionaires). See the article on congressman Mike Simpson.

Grizzly bears making homes far from Yellowstone. Conservationists say core habitat area needs to be larger. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole News and Guide. July 6, 2011






  1. Linda Jo Hunter Avatar

    After watching Chris Morgan’s bear specials on PBS, especially the segment on bears and moose who live in the suburbs of Anchorage, it is only a people problem that doesn’t allow for bears to use diverse habitats. The bears have not read the books that say they can only exist in certain areas. It is human fear of them that makes life difficult for them even though the mosquito is statistically far more dangerous for humans to be around. One statistic claims that almost 3 million people worldwide die from exposure to disease transmitted by mosquitoes. In a really bad year, may a total of 5 people die from bear related causes. As for depredation of livestock, I am afraid that the longer I study tracking the more I find that predators are just an easy scapegoat for mistakes that people make. I fully expect to hear next that someone lost all the fish in their aquarium when a cougar looked in the window at them. OK, maybe that is a little bit of an exaggeration but not much compared to some of the stories people want me to believe about what happened to their animals.

  2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Linda, I just had a bunch of fish die in my aquarium, maybe a cougar or a bear looked into my window. Joking aside, there is plenty of suitable habitat for grizzlies outside of Yellowstone in most of the mountain ranges in Montana and Wyoming (I can’t speak for Idaho since I haven’t visited much of it). There are plenty of places grizzlies can exist. Places like the Bighorn Mountains, while extensively grazed, can probably support a small population as can many areas of the Winds. I don’t imagine they would be spreading as far as the Red Desert. Does anyone know if they historically lived there?

    1. Kayla Avatar

      Yes they were in the Red Desert historically.
      And historically, Grizzlies once extended as
      far south as around today’s Mexico City or
      Central Mexico. This would include being found
      historically over the Desert Southwest. Then
      they extended to the east in the SW as far as
      West Texas. They were indeed historically
      found over the Utah’s Redrock Canyon Country.
      Also extended out over the plains in the
      central area of the US to almost (but not
      quite) to the Mississippi River. And at the
      time of the coming of the white men to
      America, the Grizzly was still expanding it’s
      range in North America. Until sorta recently,
      there were a few Grizzlies that managed to
      hang on in a remote area of Northern Mexico.
      Hope this helps.

      1. PointsWest Avatar

        I believe those south of the Grand Canyon and San Juan Basin were Mexican grizzlies that are now extinct. I am not certain on this, however.

        The area that had the most grizzlies was California. It is why the grizzly in on the California state flag.

    2. Kayla Avatar

      And let’s let the Grizzly reoccupy ALL of
      their former habitat from the Arctic North
      deep into Mexico in my opinion.

      1. PointsWest Avatar

        I have posted this before but there were so many grizzlies in California that they were commercially hunted and rendered into oil that was sold for similar uses as whale oil.

        1. Angela Avatar

          You could walk across the river on their backs! 🙂 The Central Valley had the highest densities of grizzlies anywhere. Millions of pronghorn, elk, deer, wolves. The Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins are gigantic and had anadromous fish runs (salmon, steelhead, sturgeon) almost year-round. These were grassland grizzlies and I bet life was good for them.

  3. PointsWest Avatar

    The River of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho can probably support as many grizzles as the GYE. It is very large, very remote, and is very good habbitat.

    Has anyone one heard if any grizzlies are west of I-15 in the Centennial Range this year.

  4. CodyCoyote Avatar

    I seem to recall a litany of distinct populations and/or subspecie of Grizzlies in the lower 48 states, pre-settlement, notwithstanding the Great Bear used to range from Hudson Bay to Guadalajara Mexico; Ohio to the Pacific.

    1.Sonora grizzly , a/k/a/ Mexican grizzly ; 2. San Juan -Colorado griz ; 3. Sierra grizzly – California flag bear ; 3-a/4. Coast grizzly – temperate rain forest bear California to B.C.; 5. Plains grizzly a/k/a/ ” White Bear” ; 6. Northern Rockies-Canadian Rockies- great Northwest grizzly-brown bear ; 7. Yellowstone grizzly.

    Only the last two still exist.

    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Cody, are all of those subspecies still recognized? I know there are several wolf subspecies no longer recognized. I have heard of the San Juan bear being recognized and if a population were found to be living there they would be the rarest animal in North America.

  5. BryantO Avatar

    Lets remember that “Grizzly Bears”, are really just Brown Bears(Ursus acrtos),and once were found through out the Northern Hemisphere from Ireland to Ungava(northern Quebec),and from the coast of the arctic ocean to Mexico and Tibet. Only the Gray Wolf and the Red Fox had a greater distribution among carnivores. So what does that mean? it means they are EXTREMELY adaptable as to where they can find a way to make a living,if people would just give up their fear of them and let them be.

    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Bryant you are right about how adaptable they are. I have seen footage of brown bears digging for trash in Bucharest, Romania. It’s a matter of how well we tolerate them.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan