Yellowstone National Park biologists have confirmed the park's first grizzly bear has emerged from hibernation, signaling it's time for everyone in Montana to move back into "bear aware" mode.

On Tuesday, a park biologist on a radio telemetry flight over the park observed the first grizzly of the year, an adult male weighing upwards of 350-pounds, who was seen near the remains of a bison carcass in the Pelican Valley on the east side of the park.

The first bear sighting of last year also happened on March 7th. It is typical for male grizzlies to emerge from their dens as early as the beginning or March. Sows and their cubs will stay sheltered for a few more weeks.

Yellowstone officials advise people to start using precautions in grizzly country since many visitors like to get out and are still going spring skiing, snowshoeing, and early hiking this month.

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While grizzlies usually emerge a little later in Western Montana and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem around Glacier National Park, any turn to warm weather can also bring male bears outside for the first time this year.

FWP already had one report of grizzly bear tracks near Helmville last month.

So it's a good idea to check your bear spray, secure food if you're doing some early-season camping, travel in groups while skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking, and remember to give any bears you see plenty of space. Those precautions can also apply to black bears.

Since grizzlies have been spotted in almost all areas in Western Montana, wildlife experts have advised everyone to be "bear aware" and not to assume they're in an area not frequented by bears.

READ MORE: FWP biologists capture two grizzlies in the Bitterroot Valley

READ MORE: Three grizzlies in Montana catch avian flu

Yellowstone National Park Rebuilds After Historic Flooding

After catastrophic flooding damaged portions of Yellowstone National Park in June of 2022, major reconstruction was necessary to make the park passable again. The following are photos of the improvement projects at Old Gardiner Road and the Northeast Entrance Road. All photos are courtesy of the National Park Service, photographer Jacob W. Frank.

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