Grizzly Bear Expansion Map

Artemus

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Cool new map by the USGS of the expansion of Grizzly Bear occupied range in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

I, for one, applaud the restoration of this animal to our environment. It does make our backcountry travel more serious.

https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/animated-image-showing-grizzly-bear-range-expansion-gye-1990-2016

Associated article:
https://www.usgs.gov/news/return-ye...s_science_products=1#qt-news_science_products

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.47.56 AM.png
 
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WasatchWill

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Wow! Looking at that has me thinking in another 10-20 years they may well be across Utah's border occupying habitat in Cache County.

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Artemus

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Wow! Looking at that has me thinking in another 10-20 years they may well be across Utah's border occupying habitat in Cache County.

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I don't think that expansion rate you see in the animation will be linear due to the influence of non-grizzly-habitat in the way and the presence of man. The recent delisting of the animal will likely put the brakes on this expansion IMO.
 
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Wanderlust073

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The upcoming delisting of the animal will put the brakes on this expansion IMO.

Hmmmm, I wonder. So far it always seems to be that everyone agrees that an animal will be introduced and protected till it reaches a healthy population level at which point it will be managed like all other wildlife. So that happens, the population reaches healthy numbers, they move to delist and start managing (hunting) them as previously agreed - and immediately the lawsuits begin.
 

Rockskipper

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When you see a sow with cubs, you know that area is now true grizzly country, as sows won't move in until there are established boars. Young males are pushed out of established territories, and I wonder if that map is just known established habitat or anywhere a griz is sighted. I read a about a sighting in the Uintas that was probably a young male. There have been sightings in the Sapphire and Bitterroot Mtns, and one old-timer in Philipsburg told me they were in the Pintlars.

I love camping/hiking in territory where I'm not the top predator. It can really get the adreniline flowing. I'd actually prefer the griz to being around moose, as they're more dangerous and unpredictable.
 

Rockskipper

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Here's another, though it was more near Flaming Gorge. No idea how credible. Will continue looking for the Uinta one:

"I was recently told about a grizzly bear sighted in Utah during the Summer of 2013. A fishing guide on the Green river said his wife saw a grizzly walking through the sage in the 3-corners area (near Flaming Gorge). Since this person used to run a hunting lodge in Alaska, they should be familiar with the differences between black bears and grizzly bears."

http://www.backcountrychronicles.com/grizzly-bear-distribution/
 

Artemus

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Young males are pushed out of established territories, and I wonder if that map is just known established habitat or anywhere a griz is sighted. I read a about a sighting in the Uintas that was probably a young male.

The article and map are very well annotated as to the data underpinning the expansion map. Recommended.
 

Rockskipper

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@Jackson. Can't find that source. Maybe I was misremembering, as it was a few years ago - maybe it was a Uinta ground squirrel spotted - or a Bigfoot. Sorry.
 

Absarokanaut

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They shot a grizzly in Crowheart, WY a few years ago which is outside the map's contention.

Although I have no fear for the survival of wolves here in the GYE I am getting more and more apprehensive about grizzlies. Just a few years ago I was quite anxious for delisting after more and more frequent and combative personal encounters and widespread sign. That however has changed quite a bit over the last couple of years with the culminating effects of the Whitebark Pine dieoff and a threat to Army Cutworm Moths. A couple of years ago two WY G&F guys had a presentation at the GY Visitor Center here in Jackson and stated there were no immediate plans to have a hunt upon delisting. That's now changed.

The comittment to a 600 bear minimum population is however encouraging since going below it would suspend hunting. The last thing these 3 states want is for the grizzly to be relisted because of number drops under state control. I am also hopeful for targeted hunting where "problem" bears are targeted like with blackies in Wisconsin where hunters pay good money for tags. This might come about to settle lawsuits and IMO might actually help grizzlies expand their range. Unfortunately it appears to not be under consideration at this time.
 
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When you see a sow with cubs, you know that area is now true grizzly country, as sows won't move in until there are established boars. Young males are pushed out of established territories, and I wonder if that map is just known established habitat or anywhere a griz is sighted. I read a about a sighting in the Uintas that was probably a young male. There have been sightings in the Sapphire and Bitterroot Mtns, and one old-timer in Philipsburg told me they were in the Pintlars.

I love camping/hiking in territory where I'm not the top predator. It can really get the adreniline flowing. I'd actually prefer the griz to being around moose, as they're more dangerous and unpredictable.
Great post, I totally agree with you. Only thing I would add is that sows will actually get as far away from boars as they can, since boars will aggressively come after and eat their cubs, even the fathers. Now, once a sow gets back in the mood (2 to 4 years later), she will push away the cubs, and head back to where memory serves her purpose. But you are right, If a sow with cubs is in an area, that's a fantastic sign that she is keeping them there. Their range is much smaller than a boar.

I have no doubt the possibility that some are now moving thru the PIntlars and Bitteroots. In fact, some think there are now actually a few moving between the Glacier and Greater Yellowstone ecosystems. But that is opinion. It would be spectacular for the Yellowstone grizzly, since it is pretty much an isolated sub species. And the GYE grizzly (with a high meat diet) is quiet different from the Glacier grizzly (largely vegetarian). Both have seemed to be evolving differently, with the Glacier(Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem) grizzly adapting more to humans than the GYE grizzlies.

As far as the Uintas go, I doubt it. I don't believe most grizzly reports. I see far to many people mis identifying them. Even biologist struggle to properly identify bears sometimes. Unless the witness has themselves spent years in grizzly country, I don't put much stock into anything they say. It's easy to confuse the 2 species. And most outdoor enthusiast are wrong when it comes to identifying bears. It's becoming kind of like bigfoot, unless there is a picture, I don't believe it.

Just my two cents.. But i'm right there with you as far as being in another apex predators territory. Especially the great bear.
 
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Although I have no fear for the survival of wolves here in the GYE I am getting more and more apprehensive about grizzlies. Just
The grizzly bear has an incredible record of adapting to its surrounding, especially humans. As long as humans don't shoot them all, the GYE grizzly will be fine. The wolf, on the other hand, might have too many enemies to last another 100 years....
 

Absarokanaut

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August,

My disagreement is of course respectful.

The remotest wilderness of the 48 states and a much smaller population surrounding it couldn't keep grizzly numbers up in the middle of the last century. In terms of numbers the wolf exceeded the most optimistic of predicitions in a few short years. With an almost unlimited prey base here in the GYE and not a whole lot of mange, parvo, etc., the only real limiting factor on wolves here is us, and even with an incredible alacrity to "shoot, shovel, and shutup" they have thrived beyond the wildest of dreams or nightmares depending on how you look at it. Since no major extirpation effort will ever likely be allowed on Federal Lands they are in FAR better shape than the grizzly. The wolves hunt far more animal protein than they need here and grizzlies and other animals here have reaped those benefits, I think wolves are the greatest thing that's happened for the grizzly here since we've been here; but with those major historical natural food sources under threat they are IMO in far greater danger than wolves. I'm not sure but didn't overall number of grizzlies in the ecosystem actually decline last year? Of course the methods of simply counting predators are greatly debated. I'm just one guy over limited acreage but if I were still seeing them with anywhere near the frequency I did a few short years ago I would not have come to this position.

I am certainly no biologist but with enormous packs just outside of town here if it weren't for all us liberals there'd be whole lot of that SSS culture right here in Teton County. Talk about adaptation, when I'm along the South Absaroka Wall and see wolves they generally put big distance between us as fast as they can. When they were in state management a few years ago and guns started firing in more travelled areas wolves more or less moved on to friendlier pastures sooner than they would have otherwise. What a lot of people simply do not understand is that wolves move all over the place and just because you don't see them where you might have in the past doesn't mean their numbers have dropped. With Beetle Kill all over the place up here I just don't even see a respectable fraction of the grizzly sign I used to.

Wolves remind people of their best friends, that emotional connection is far and away the greatest reason why Defenders of Wildlife and others can raise boatloads of bucks doing little more than photo ops and circulating online petitions. There's a reason why our three "conservative" governors and folks in Congress all signed on to this. The Resource extraction industry and "environmentalists" signed on to "reintroduction" for different reasons. The Energy folks didn't want the far stricter regulations a "native" population coming in from the North would kick in as opposed to the "experimental" population designation introduction afforded. The "animal lovers" knew that bringing them in would not only raise a lot of money but also allow us to see far more of them in these few short years than we otherwise would in a lifetime. They didn't hush up the shooting of the Black "canine" at Fox Park in the Teton Wilderness in '92 for nothing.

On the notation of sows and cubs being a great barometer: Believe it or not our arguably most photographed "wild" bears in the world in Grand Teton NP are likely choosing to be close to us to avoid boars so the boars will not kill cubs to push sows into estrus. I will certainly agree that is incredibly adaptive.

If any of you are coming to the Southern half of the GYE I am of course more than willing to share some of the best spots I've seen and continue to see these apex predators. Just don't forget your bearspray and if you feel compelled to pack be sure to at least bring the monster that shoots the .454 Casull; despite what the testosterone encumbered like to suggest ANYTHING less is dead weight unless you are a schmuck and "hunting" and taking a heart lung shot from a distance since such a shot never presents itself in a charge.

Thanks for the conversation folks,

John
 

Dave

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Interesting, thanks for sharing.

Having just finished reading Night of the Grizzlies, I find myself feeling dubious about the long term survival of the species. As Art rightly points out, delisting is almost certain to check territorial growth, if not drive back populations.
 

Rockskipper

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http://www.ktvq.com/story/35928667/grizzly-bear-seen-west-of-white-sulphur-springs

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS -

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks announced Wednesday wildlife biologists confirmed the presence of a grizzly bear in the Big Belt Mountains west of White Sulphur Springs.

A photograph of the 3-year-old bear was taken recently by a remote trail camera that FWP was using in a wolf monitoring survey.

The grizzly appeared to be alone, and FWP is not aware of any conflicts involving the bear.

They do not know where the young bear came from. The Big Belts separate the Helena and White Sulphur Springs valleys.

This is the second grizzly bear sighting this year in areas the species has not been present for a long time, maybe even a century.

In June, a pair of grizzlies apparently came down the Teton River from the Rocky Mountain Front and ended up in Stanford, east of Great Falls. The young bears were captured and euthanized after they preyed on livestock.

FWP said in recent years bears have traveled the river corridors – Sun, Marias, Dearborn and Teton – east from the Rocky Mountain Front looking for natural foods.
 

Jackson

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So with the bear being in the Big Belts, is it more likely that it migrated from the GYE or from the Swan Range/Bob Marshall area?
 
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