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Wednesday
Feb112015

Warm weather waking up grizzlies 

YNP photo(YELLOWSTONE NAT'L PARK)- The unusually warm weather might be hard for winter sports enthusiasts to bear. But it means some of the region's grizzlies are already starting to come out of hibernation.

Yellowstone National Park managers say they received their first confirmed report of a grizzly on Monday, when a bear was spotted scavenging on a bison carcass in the center of the park. That's several weeks earlier than normal.

That's prompting biologists to issue bear warnings for park visitors, telling hikers, skiers and snowshoers to be on the lookout for grizzlies. They advise backcountry travelers to travel in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail and carry bear spray. 

Biologists say bears look for food as soon as they emerge from their dens and feast on deer, elk and bison that have died during the winter storms. And they warn bears will frequently be aggressive about those food sources. 

Yellowstone regulations require park visitors to stay more than 1-hundred yards away from bears at all times. 

Conditions have been colder in the north, and there's been no word of confirmed grizzly sightings in Northwest Montana. Still, precautions are probably a good idea given the continued springlike temperatures. 

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