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Grizzly 399, Cubs Sighted Back In Grand Teton

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Although the most famous grizzly in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and her four cubs were recently seen farther south than they’d ever ventured, Grizzly 399 and her babies are now back in the Grand Teton National Park area.

Jackson-based adventure guide Matty Deehan took a video of the mother and her cubs, which have grown significantly since their debut earlier this year. He then posted it to his Instagram account, celebrating their return.

The video shows the five bears wandering through a backyard area, presumably Deehan’s, on their way back to their main home in the park.

“The family is less than a mile from returning back into Grand Teton National Park. Hopefully this time it’s for good,” Deehan wrote in the Instagram post.

The bears are preparing for hibernation, which will last around five months. Once they begin hibernating, grizzly 399 and the four cubs likely won’t be seen until late March or early April.

In October, one of the cubs was spotted limping, but all four appeared to be healthy in the video posted by Deehan.

Grand Teton National Park officials didn’t respond to a request for comment from Cowboy State Daily.

Grizzly 399 is considered the most famous bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She has had around 16 cubs, including her latest four that were first seen this year.

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Bear Sings In Tree, Deserves Record Deal

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A video of a bear vocalizing in a tree likely could have record producers scrambling to sign it to become the next big thing.

Well, maybe not quite, but it still is pretty fun to hear it vocalizing.

The video posted last week by Yosemite National Park shows an adult male bear vocalizing in a tree, but rangers were uncertain as to the reason why.

“Bears can produce a wide repertoire of sounds, typically when defensive, afraid, distressed or aggressive,” the post said. “We’re not sure what prompted this unscheduled a capella concert…”

According to the North American Bear Center, black bears use sounds, body language, and scent-marking to express their emotions of the moment.

No tourists could be seen trying to bother the bear, so that is likely not the reason the bear was “singing” in the tree last week.

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Grizzly Bear 399’s Cub Has Limp But Prognosis Good (We Hope)

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Photo Credit:

Although the bear named “747” received top honors this year as the fattest bear of Alaska’s Katmai National Park, Yellowstone’s favorite grizzly bear “399” is probably the most talked-about bear of 2020.

Second-place honors might go to the grizzly who was minding its own business in an abandoned shed before a Montana man sneaked up on it (the man lost).

As for the bronze medal, we might go with the grizzly bear who — again was minding its own business — before a trailrunner (who wasn’t paying attention to the trail) literally ran into the bear and bounced off it.

And coming in in fourth (no medals sadly but in this age of participation trophies, we’ll send it a certificate), would be the bear who was minding its own business when a couple with a baby (seriously) was on the same trail as the grizzly and decided to do the exact wrong thing and run away from it. (Thankfully the bear probably rolled its eyes and just let them move on).

Regardless, and finally back to the topic, 399 is the 24-year-old grizzly who is always seen with her latest round of cubs — all four of them.

She’s been the topic of countless stories this year including an article from The Guardian which proclaimed “She Still Lives” when she emerged from hibernation, still standing with her cubs in tow.

As 399 and her now-much-larger cubs get ready for hibernation, we noticed that one of the little guys (we’re gender neutral here — we don’t know the sex of the cub so we’ll just call it a ‘him’) wasn’t faring as well as his siblings.

The site EnjoyYourParks (which is one of our all-time favorites) explained that the smallest of the cubs has a limp and that’s why you might see him behind the pack.

“Normally this cutie is right next to its mom but on this particular day it was having trouble keeping up with the rest of its family,” the site explained.

“We noticed this limp about a week ago and it has not worsened or improved throughout this time,” it said.

But don’t get too alarmed. The cub is apparently keeping up much better now and is now digging with both front legs.

In the past, the site explained the cub would just watch its siblings dig.

“This may be an indication the cub’s leg or paw is healing,” it said.

Or it could be an indication that the cub is really quite smart and having its siblings do all the work while he’s kicking back.

Either way, the site pledged to monitor the situation and provide updates when necessary. Keep up with its progress here.

By the way, it will probably be a while until the bears get ready for sleepy time. Late November is the time most bears get ready for winter hibernation but that is dependent on snowfall, temperature, and food supply.

We’ll keep you posted.

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Emaciated Black Bear Cub Euthanized in Lander

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Photo credit: Lander Volunteer Fire Department

It’s always sad to report when an animal has to be put down because there are no other options.

That was the case on Saturday morning when Wyoming’s Game and Fish department was called to investigate a report of a black bear which was located up a tree in a residential area in Lander.

Game and Fish spokesperson Rebecca Fitzgerald said the biologist on site examined the animal and determined that the bear was in “very poor shape.”

“They did a visual examination and confirmed that the bear was emaciated and obviously had been separated way too early from its mother and would not survive the winter,” Fitzgerald said.

The decision to euthanize the bear was made because there were really no other options, she said, as the bear was in such a bad condition and the likelihood of placing the bear in a zoo or rehab facility was low.

“It’s really hard to place these smaller cubs with zoos especially when they are in poor condition,” she said.

“This cub was separated from its mother way too early,” she said. “It needed to be with its mother for at least another eight months.”

Fitzgerald said wildlife officials were aware of this cub and knew it had been born this year.

“So to be without its mother this early on was way too early,” she said.

She said black bear and grizzly cubs must spend significant time with their mothers — sometimes up to three years.

“It’s always really unfortunate when our job requires that we have to do this with wildlife,” she said. “Sometimes nature is cruel and things happen and we don’t know why. But we try to make the best ethical decisions we can.”

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Gigantic 1,400 Pound Alaskan Brown Bear Wins Fat Bear Week Championship

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There are many who would probably argue that voting in the presidential race is more important than voting for the fattest bear at Katmai National Park.

We take the opposite stance, however.

There are few things more important than marking your ballot for a fat bear.

If you voted, congratulations. There is a winner.

Katmai National Park, which is located in southwest Alaska, named a winner on Tuesday for the annual contest and really there was no contest.

The bear named “747” annihilated the bear named “Chunk” by a 47,055 to 21,854 vote margin.

There is not an Electoral College in the Fat Bear Week contest so there should be no controversy with the outcome (although Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will probably find a reason to call it unfair).

Just how big is 747?  There’s no official weigh-in because officials would probably get their heads ripped-off.

So instead they use a 3D scanner which estimates how big these bears are. 

‘747’ clocks in at just over 1,400 pounds. To put that in perspective, a telephone pole is about 1,000 pounds. A sailboat is around 1,300 pounds. John Daly is 4,500 pounds.

“Few brown bears ever grow as large as the bear who shares an identification number with a jet airplane,” Park Service officials said.

That size is beneficial because he doesn’t have to compete against other bears. He’s the biggest kid on the playground and other bears leave him alone.

“Although dominant bears can maintain their rank in the hierarchy through aggression, 747 typically keeps his status by sheer size alone. Most bears recognize they cannot compete with him physically and they yield space upon his approach,” official said.

“Many staff who’ve worked at Katmai for many years say that [747] is the biggest bear they have ever seen,” Katmai media ranger Naomi Boak told The Washington Post. “It’s pure coincidence that he has the same name as a jumbo jet, but he is the size of a jumbo jet.”

According to acclaimed bear-expert site The Verge, the annual competition was started in 2014 as a way to celebrate how fat and healthy the park’s bears are.

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Black Bear Breaks Into Estes Park YMCA To Raid Refrigerator

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It’s not that uncommon in Estes Park, Colorado. It’s bear country. So bears do what bears do and sometimes they end up in people’s homes or buildings or, in this instance, the YMCA.

That’s what happened on Monday night in the resort town.

It was about 2am and an employee who was working late heard a sound (yes, this is how many horror movies begin) and she went to investigate.

The employee, Anna Williams, said the thought crossed her mind that the sound could have come from a bear (after all, she lives in Estes Park).

“I walked down the hall, and sure enough, there was a giant black bear raiding the fridge,” Williams said on her Facebook page.

“It saw me and wheeled around to try to get out but couldn’t get the door open,” she said. “So I ran back down to my room, called the front desk so security could be alerted.”

In the past, someone might be content behind a locked door when an animal that could rip your head off was on the other side, but not anymore. 

Now, as soon as you gain your wits, the first thing you do, of course, is grab your phone. And that’s what she did.

“It seemed curious as I filmed it, but towards the end I think it felt threatened and trapped. It growled and started charging at me,” she said.

Wisely, at that point, Williams decided to go back in her room and shut the door.

“A little while later I heard security come in and chase it out,” she said.

Williams justified the bear’s actions because he was just looking for some food to get him ready for hibernation.

Sadly, if the bear has become accustomed to looking for food in refrigerators at the YMCA, he may not make it that long to hibernation.

This is the type of bear “the man” takes out.

Here’s hoping the bear sticks to the woods.

Had a late-night visitor last nightEdit: A lot of people are asking, so here’s the story. I work here at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO. I worked late Thursday night and hadn’t gotten to sleep yet around 2am. I heard a crash from the lobby, and went to go investigate. I thought it might be a human who needed help. The idea that it was a bear had crossed my mind, but I wanted to make sure so I could call security to report it. I walked down the hall, and sure enough, there was a giant black bear raiding the fridge. It saw me, and wheeled around to try to get out, but couldn’t get the door open. I ran back down to my room, called the front desk so security could be alerted, and then grabbed my phone to document the intruder. It seemed curious as I filmed it, but towards the end I think it felt threatened and trapped. It growled and started charging at me. That’s when I popped back into my room and shut the door. A little while later I heard security come in and chase it out. Black bears can be dangerous in situations where they feel threatened or they feel that their cubs are threatened, but they are generally very skittish animals. For the most part the only reason they even come close to where humans are is to get food. It’s the time of year where the bears are trying to bulk up for the winter, and this guy was just looking for some extra calories to keep him warm during hibernation.

Posted by Anna Williams on Friday, October 2, 2020

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Grizzly 399’s Cubs Stop Traffic To Wrestle & Play With Cones; No Tourist Gets Mauled

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We just loved watching these four grizzly cubs playing and wrestling in the roadway! The wildlife volunteers did a great job of keeping the onlookers at bay. #100yardpledgeWe hope everyone enjoys.

Posted by on Monday, 31 August 2020

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All we know is we want to travel with this guy.

On Monday, grizzly bear 399’s four cubs stopped traffic in Grand Teton National Park so they could play with some orange traffic cones and wrestle with each other.

Remarkably, instead of tourists getting out of their vehicles and attempting to pet them, everyone appeared to stay inside.

Inside of one stopped vehicle right next to the frolicking cubs were Chris and Liz Pipes, who travel the country in their RV and report on their activities.

From the video, it sound like Chris Pipes could be a former TV anchor. He described what he saw like someone might do the play-by-play of the Rose Parade.

“These are the famous cubs of bear 399, a 24-year-old sow grizzly bear and we’re catching them right on the edge of the road here,” narrates Pipes.

“They are just having a ball,” he said. “We haven’t seen No. 399 yet. We suspect she’s down in the woods right there.”

“But the cubs are just having a ball, playing with the cones and wrestling,” he said. “This is a pretty remarkable chance sighting of these guys. So much fun.”

Could it be that no one went to pet them because they know that 399 (or any grizzly) is not to be messed with?

She’s got quite a history. Possibly the most famous bear in the world. If you are new to 399, here’s a great story that is worth the read.

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Convenience Store Worker Unhappy He Has to Fight Bears on the Job

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WILD VIDEO! This video shows some crazy confrontations between bears and people at two stores in the Lake Tahoe area last month. STORY:

Posted by WFLA News Channel 8 on Tuesday, 1 September 2020

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We love bear stories. And although this bear story didn’t happen in Wyoming, we’ll still mention it because it’s a good bear story.

Turns out, a convenience store worker in Lake Tahoe doesn’t like some of his customers.

It’s unlikely that he will be charged with discrimination for trying to block them from entering his store, however. Because the customers in question are bears.

TV station WFLA obtained surveillance video of bears entering and hanging out in Paul Heigh’s convenience store and it’s pretty remarkable.

One bear appears quite content lying on the floor and eating a bag of candy.

It’s great video. Hilarious, in fact.

Unless you’re the one that has to deal with it.

Employee Paul Heigh has to deal with it.  He told the TV station that he didn’t expect this when he took the job.

“This wasn’t in the job description,” Heigh said. “Fighting off bears was not in the job description.”

Heigh was fed up enough to try to block the bear from entering the store until the bear lunged at him. Heigh wasn’t injured but decided to let the bear enter his store.

The local Bear League didn’t seem to have any concern over the safety of Heigh or any human customers. Its focus is on the bear.

“The bear should not be going into buildings where someone could shoot him or kill him or the department of wildlife could kill him,” Bear League spokesperson Ann Bryant said.

What to do?

The TV station reported that “experts” told business owners to disable automatic doors so they can’t “just walk inside.”

Experts also recommended using Pine-Sol. For what, we don’t know.

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Friendly Black Bear Puts “Arm” Around Lovell Teacher To See What She Was Reading

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By David Peck, Lovell Chronicle

Ilene Henley was enjoying a good book at her family campsite on the Big Horn Mountains on July 12 when she saw something out of the corner of her eye. 

It was a black bear – and, fortunately, a friendly one – with an apparent interest in what Henley was reading. 

“It was a little before 8 p.m. and my father and husband had left to get water at the ranger station off (Forest) Road 14,” said Henley, a Title I reading and math teacher at Rocky Mountain Middle/ High School who resides in Lovell. 

“I’d just settled into reading in my lounge chair behind our camper. In my peripheral vision I saw movement, but by the time I looked up, I’d started a new book club with a yearling black bear,” she said. “He was very friendly as he loped over to the chair, placed his paws on the wooden armrest (from which I slowly moved my arm).

“The black bear leaned in closer to check out the book I was reading (Clive Cussler) and decided he liked it, so he placed his paws on my thigh and seemed to be reading along.”

So what do you do in a situation like that? In her case, Henley decided that less was more. 

“About this time, my husband (Bob) called out to me. I was still fully reclined, just staying as still as I could trying to remember what I was supposed to do with my fuzzy buddy,” she said. “The second time he called me, I hollered back, ‘There’s a bear! Come here!’ The sound of my voice interrupted the bear’s reading and he quickly lumbered off the way that he came. My husband didn’t even see him.” 

As a frequent visitor to the Bighorn National Forest with her family, Henley warned them about the young bruin. 

“I did warn my sisters and parents, so we left young children and little dogs home the next weekend. Sure enough, the yearling came to check things out several times that weekend,” Henley said. “Between my husband and my brother-in-law (Brad Trowell), the bear was scared up a tree where he stayed for quite some time, shimmying higher and higher and making random noises, though surprisingly, never a growl. 

“The family took a little ride toward evening. When we returned, we found a number of things torn and on the ground. There were also muddy paw prints where the bear had checked out a camper, a truck and a solar panel.”

Word got out to the forest rangers, who stopped by for a report.

The family’s two weeks at one site were up the following weekend, but before moving to a new site, they saw no sign of the bear that weekend. 

“Perhaps he found a different book to read,” Henley said. “I hope all the students returning to school this week find some great books and adventures this academic year.”

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Three Bears Crash Into House; Steal Peaches and Chocolate

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When you live in bear country, you might have bears for visitors.

That’s what happened to the Redfoot family earlier this week in Red Lodge, Montana. 

Three bears — a mama black bear with two cubs — entered the house through a screen window and began to dine on peaches and chocolate.

Although some people (namely us) would run out of the house screaming our heads off, the visitors didn’t daunt Kathy Redfoot.

She told the rude visitors to leave.

“I came out of the bedroom to find Kathy chasing them back out of the window. They were no match for my Momma Bear!” Don Redfoot posted on his Facebook page.

The corresponding photo shows his wife taking a stand against one of the bears in the disheveled (thanks to the bears) kitchen.

In a situation like that when your wife is going mano a mano against a bear, why take a photo?

She told the Billings Gazette that she asked him to although he apparently didn’t understand his wife’s direction.

“I meant of the cubs, not me,” she told the newspaper. “Don is always taking pictures.”

She said her first instinct was to call the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks department for advice but ended up just kicking them out of her house instead.

So she clapped and yelled at the bears until they felt unwelcome and it apparently worked.

“[The bear] never appeared threatening or fierce,” she said of the mama bear. “It appeared nonchalant and not too concerned about me.”

The bears continued to not be concerned about the Redfoots as they came back by the house the following day.

“Unfortunately, having been rewarded for their efforts last night, the momma bear and her cubs were back for more this afternoon,” Don Redfoot posted

“The momma had moved to an area where I couldn’t get a shot out of our front windows, but the cubs were right by our front door playing with the “Deer Out” spray bottle that Kathy Kenyon keeps by the flower box. Perhaps, that accounts for the look on their faces like they had a bad taste in their mouths. Be bear aware folks!” he said.

The bears came back again, by the way. But this time just to play with some stuffed animals outside of their house.

“I have to say that they are much cuter in this video than they were in our kitchen a couple of nights ago!!!” Don Redfoot said of the three-minute video he posted.

Just before we saw them in front of our house yesterday, our local bears had some playtime with Teddy and Simba in the…

Posted by Don Redfoot on Tuesday, August 25, 2020

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