Yellowstone National Park officials say that on May 28, a park ranger arrived at a bear jam between Norris Junction and Swan Lake Flat as many people were outside of their vehicles and dangerously close (within 20 yards) to a breeding pair of grizzly bears.
The adult male grizzly became agitated as people failed to comply with the ranger’s instructions and approached the bears too closely to take photos and blocked them from crossing the road. The male grizzly bluff-charged the ranger, who ran behind his truck and then hazed the bear into the forest by using bean bag rounds, rubber bullets, and cracker shells.
Park staff haze bears away from developed areas and roads to protect visitors or the bear and reduce traffic congestion. Park rules require that people always stay 100 yards away from bears. If you stop to watch a roadside bear in Yellowstone, you have a responsibility to behave in a way that doesn’t put people - or the bear - at risk. If a park ranger is present, do as they say.
“We’ve already seen numerous close calls with bears this year and had one visitor seriously injured last week,” said park superintendent Cam Sholly. “Visitors need to maintain appropriate distances to wildlife and understand these animals are wild and can kill or injure humans very easily if threatened. The resource management bear technician in the video did an excellent job of hazing the aggressive bear away from visitors who obviously had no clue what kind of danger they were in. His actions likely saved lives. Non-lethal bean bags and rubber bullets were used in this situation and are some of the tools we use to haze wildlife away from visitors.”
(1st REPORT) Video circulating on social media from a few days ago shows a grizzly bear charging at a ranger in Yellowstone National Park. In the video posted on May 31st, the ranger is seen diverting traffic from the area of the bear as it emerges from the treeline and charges at the ranger. The ranger then runs back to his truck, and re-approaches the bear and hazed it back into the trees, away from the road.
No other details, including where in YNP the incident occurred, were available in the video. We have tried to contact YNP officials for more details and will update you when we get more information.
Earlier in May, a woman approached a female grizzly bear and her two cubs in the park:
Wild animals in Yellowstone National Park are exactly that - wild. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, visitors must give it space. Yellowstone National Park guidelines state that visitors must stay 25 yards away from all large animals – bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes - and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.
- Woman gored by bison in Yellowstone park
- Hiker at Yellowstone injured by grizzly bear
- Woman injured by grizzly in Yellowstone park
- Child tossed in air by bison in Yellowstone
- Woman "plays dead" to avoid a charging bison
- Woman knocked down by bison in Yellowstone park
FWP says that preventing a conflict is easier than dealing with one, and offers the following information:
- Bear spray is a highly effective, non-lethal bear deterrent. Carry EPA-approved bear spray and know how to use it.
- Never feed wildlife, especially bears. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose a threat to human safety. It is illegal to feed bears in Montana.
- Know your bears. It is important to know the difference between grizzly bears and black bears, whether you are hunting or hiking.
- Always keep a safe distance from wildlife. Never intentionally get close to a bear.
- Remove or secure food attractants. Bear-resistant containers and a properly constructed electrified fence are proven effective at deterring bears.
- For more information, visit fwp.mt.gov.